Christ Church St Kilda Anglican Church
Architect: Charles Swyer 1854, Sydney W Smith 1881
Inner South | IS18
Christ Church St Kilda, one of St Kilda’s oldest buildings, is a fine example of English Gothic Revival architecture that is a reminder of medieval European churches. It includes hand-carved gargoyles that were not only to protect the building from evil but to also decorate the spouting system. In keeping with the medieval style, the church incorporates three turrets, one being the belfry. In 1881 a new chancel was added under architect Sydney W Smith who retained the English Gothic Revival style. The Reverend David Seddon, who became Christ Church St Kilda’s first Incumbent Minister, was accompanied to Australia from London in 1852 by a young architect and engineer named Charles Swyer who designed the church and oversaw its construction between 29 November 1854 and 2 August 1857. Swyer intended the church to have a steeple but, alas, when the first Victorian gold rush ended the steeple had not been built and the church has remained steeple-less. Although looking weary after 160 years, the original church was built using rarely used undressed random course sandstone from Point King, Sorrento. Sandstone from Waurn Ponds was used in the 1881 chancel. The stained-glass windows, including the western triangular rose window, are excellent examples of English and Australian design and craftsmanship, showing amazing detail in their creation and the changes in stained-glass making styles during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The stenciled gold-leaf Fleur-de-Lis on the chancel walls, restored in 1996-98, reflect the heritage of Victoria’s gold rush days. A significant element of the church is the William Hill organ that was shipped out from London in 1859. Enlarged in 1874 and 1916, it received a thorough restoration by Stewart Organs that began in 2006 and was completed in 2013.
In the church there will be a display of photographs, pictures and memorabilia; recorded and live music; guest speakers; and refreshments.
Need to Know
Open: Saturday 27 July 10am–4pm & Sunday 28 July 1pm–4pm
Tour Type: Open Entry, Guided + Open Entry, Self-guided
Tour Details: Tours at 10am, 12pm, and 2pm running 30 minutes in groups of 6.
Access: Limited mobility, all ages.
Notes: Refreshments available, photography restrictions, toilets available
Kids Activity: Games to help explore the church and the site, picture drawing, and a guest visitor.
Building Type: Place of Worship
Architecture Era: Victorian (1851-1901)
Transport: Tram stop 135: Ackland St on routes 3/3a, 16, 96
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Christ Church St Kilda
14 Acland Street, St Kilda 3182, St Kilda VIC