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Mission to Seafarers

Architect: Walter Butler

Docklands | D02

The Mission to Seafarers buildings are unusual for combining two distinct architectural styles: Spanish Mission Revival and Arts and Crafts. This Spanish Revival style had become prevalent on the west coast of America, throughout California and New Mexico during the 1890s. It revived the architectural legacy of Spanish colonialism of the 18th century and the associated Franciscan missions. The adjoining administration, residential and recreational building show the influence of English domestic Arts and Crafts architecture, with its projecting gable, pepper pot chimneys and three adjoining oriel windows. Architect Walter Butler had come to Australia with an intimate knowledge and experience of the Arts and Crafts movement, and continued to use the style in his residential designs of the 1920s. Maritime imagery is evident throughout the buildings, including stained glass windows in the chapel depicting stories of seafarers lost at sea, the pulpit in the form of a ship's stern and the large mariner's compass inlaid in the terrazzo floor. The chapel is notable for its fine collection of crafted joinery by Robert Prenzel, including the altar and sanctuary chairs with their carved Australian flora motifs. The new Early Origins exhibition provides in-depth information about the building and its people.

Need to Know

  • Open: Saturday 10am-4pm, Sunday 10am-4pm

  • Heritage Listed: Yes

  • What's Open: Ground floor, Chapel and Dome room

  • Tour Type: Self Guided

  • Special Programming: On Saturday the Yarra Gospel Choir will be singing in the Norla Dome at 1pm.

  • Building Type: Cultural

  • Facilities: Limited mobility access, Toilets, Food and beverage available

  • Year Built: 1907

  • Tram Stops: Stop D5: The Goods Shed/Docklands on route 70.


717 Flinders St Docklands VIC 3008, VIC


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