St Mary of the Angels Basilica, Geelong
|St Mary of the Angels Basilica|
St Mary's Basilica, Geelong, south view
|Location||Yarra Street, Geelong, Victoria|
|Architect(s)||Messrs Dowden and Ross|
|Architectural type||Gothic Revival|
|Length||61 metres (200 ft)|
|Width||40 metres (130 ft)|
|Nave width||26 metres (86 ft)|
|Height||64 metres (210 ft)|
|Priest in charge||Fr James Clarke|
Since the completion of the Gothic revival bluestone building in 1937, St. Mary of the Angels has had the tallest bluestone spire in Australia, at 150 feet (46 m), and has the fourth-tallest non-cathedral spire in Australia. In 2004 it became Australia's fifth basilica, after gaining Vatican approval for the change of description.
It is the tallest building in Geelong, with a total height of 210 feet (64 m) from the pavement, and is a major landmark in the city.
The first St. Mary's church was a small wooden chapel in Yarra Street, opened on 27 November 1842. The congregation quickly outgrew the chapel and a stone replacement was constructed in 1846.
The optimism the Victorian gold rush brought to Geelong led to plans for a cathedral-like landmark church for the city. The architects were Messrs Dowden and the foundation stone was laid in 1854.
However, as Geelong's boom slowed, work ceased two years later, leaving Geelong with an incomplete landmark for over a decade.
Construction was revived in 1871 when Archdeacon R. S. Downing contracted builder Clement Nash to continue works, which ceased in 1872.
Work on the spire did not commence until 1931 and was completed by June 1937.
- Wynd, Ian, St. Mary of the Angels Basilica, 2nd edition (St. Mary of the Angels Parish), 2006
- Morrow, W.J., A chronological survey of Geelong in 1870, Investigator (Geelong Historical Society magazine), February 1970, p. 10
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