Melbourne's first church was a small weatherboard building that was used by all denominations. In 1839 construction began on St. James Anglican Church in William Street near Collins Street. It was designed by Robert Russell in Colonial Georgian style. Bluestone was used for the foundations and local sandstone was used for the main walls. The partially completed building was opened for worship in 1842. Construction was completed in 1847 but later additions were made according to the designs of Charles Laing.
The Diocese of Melbourne was founded in 1847 and Charles Perry was consecrated in Westminster Abbey, London, as Melbourne's first Bishop on 29 June of that year. Following his arrival in Melbourne he was enthroned in St. James on 28 January 1848 and St. James became the first Cathedral Church of the new diocese, though not consecrated until 1853.
REMOVAL In 1913 the church was dismantled and moved to its present site in West Melbourne opposite the Flagstaff Gardens. It was reconsecrated by Archbishop Lowther Clarke and reopened for worship on 19 April 1914.
PARISH REGISTERS Parish registers commenced for burials in 1836 and for baptisms and marriages in 1837. The originals, prior to the start of civil registration in 1853, are held by the Victorian Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages. Photocopies of these originals are held at the old cathedral as are the original parish registers from that time onwards. The registers can be consulted during office hours for a modest fee and certified copies of register entries can be supplied.
MUSEUM A museum occupies the vestry to the right of the sanctuary. It houses many historical documents, vessels, plans and photographs of great interest. The museum is opened on request. A video of the history of St. James Old Cathedral can also be viewed on request.
|Interior View - St. James Cathedral, Melbourne||Altar Window - St. James Cathedral, Melbourne|
ANNUAL PIONEER SERVICE A Pioneer Service is held in early November each year to commemorate the laying of the foundation stone by His Honour Charles Joseph La Trobe in 1839. Refreshments are served in the adjoining Conference Centre after the service. Following the 2008 service the Port Phillip Pioneers Group presented an illustrated program entitled "Glimpses of the Past."
|A Greeting Following the Annual Pioneer Service||Leaving St. James Cathedral Conference Centre|
St. JAMES OLD CATHEDRAL
2 Batman Street ( cnr. King Street ), West Melbourne, Victoria, 3003
Vicar: Rev. John Sugars
Minister: Rev. Matt Williams
Sundays at 10.00 am. ( Book of Common Prayer used on second Sunday of the month )
Wednesdays at 12.30 pm. - Communion Service for City Workers
Office: Janette Wells - Phone / Fax: (03) 9329 0903
( The Church and Office is open Monday - Friday 10.00 am. to 4.00 pm. )
E-mail: St. James Old Cathedral
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