West Melbourne, VIC - St Mary Star of the Sea Catholic

Year Built: 1900

Denomination: Roman Catholic

Saint: Mary Star of the Sea

Address: 33 Howard Street, North Melbourne, Victoria, 3051

Architect: Edgar J. Henderson

Traditional Owners: Wurundjeri people

Last Updated: 14/08/2023

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History and Architecture:

The foundation stone for the first church was laid on 14 of May 1854. The church was a modest graceful stone building, which was completed in six months at a cost of 4,400. It was intended to be a place of worship on Sundays and a Catholic school during the week.

The current Church considered to be the largest parish church in Melbourne and for that matter Victoria was built of Barrabool stone in 1893-1900 to the design of E J Henderson in the French Gothic Revival style. and comprising clerestoried nave, transepts, apse and sacristies with crossing fleche and unfinished tower stump to the right of the main facade. The interior includes a groined wooden ceiling, marble fittings, large stained glass windows.

The foundation stone was laid on 9 December 1883 by Archbishop Gould, who had laid the foundation stone for the original Saint Mary's Church almost thirty years ago.

The church was blessed by hi Eminence Patrick Francis Cardinal Moran on 18 February 1900.

A new Mass, specially written for the occasion by Herr de Chaneet, the parish choirmaster, was performed by a 120-voice choir and a 30-piece orchestra.


These names are now in the Database and can be searched individually.

Years Name Annotation D.o.B D.o.D
1888 - Father Patrick Joseph Alyward
1919 - Father Adrian E. Hughes
1945 - 1951 Father Joseph Kealy
2010 - 2013 Father Max Polak P.P.
2013 - Father Anthony Brnall P.P.


A three-manual organ of 38 speaking stops built by the Melbourne organ builder George Fincham between 1898 and 1900 and the largest remaining intact example of its builder's work.
Apart from minor earlier modifications to the action and console, since reversed during the major restoration in 1992-1993 by the South Island Organ Company, the original pipework, casework and diapered facade pipes, action, windchests and console remain in a remarkable state of originality. For a full description click here.


1. Organ Historical Trust of Australia with permission.