Cathedral of the Annunciation of Our Lady | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Cathedral of the Annunciation of Our Lady

Item details

Name of item: Cathedral of the Annunciation of Our Lady
Other name/s: Greek Orthodox Cathedral; St Paul's Anglican Church; St Pauls Church of England; Cathedral of the 'Annunciation of Our Lady Theotokos'
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Religion
Category: Churchyard
Location: Lat: -33.8888032201 Long: 151.2024761970
Primary address: 242 Cleveland Street, Redfern, NSW 2016
Parish: Alexandria
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Sydney
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Metropolitan
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
 1 DP235433
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
242 Cleveland StreetRedfernSydneyAlexandriaCumberlandPrimary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of AustraliaReligious Organisation 

Statement of significance:

The Cathedral of the Annunciation of Our Lady is of state heritage significance as an important early ecclesiastical design in the architectural career of Edmund Blacket. Originally St Paul's Anglican Church, its Decorated Gothic design became one of the established architectural models for parish church construction throughout NSW.

This item is also significant as the Greek Orthodox Cathedral for Australia and for its association with the migrant communities that settled in NSW following the Second World War. Establishing churches and maintaining the orthodox faith has always been a significant aspect of the Greek-Australian experience and, since the conversion and re-consecration of the church to the Orthodox faith in 1970, the cathedral has become a centre for worship and the continuity and celebration of Greek customs, traditions and language.

The former Anglican church also has a significant association with Reverend Francis Bertie Boyce, who resided over the parish from 1886 until his retirement in 1930. A notable and active leader for social reform, Boyce used his political connections to campaign for clearing slums, improving living conditions, promoting pensions and alleviating working class distress within the Redfern/Chippendale parish.
Date significance updated: 15 Oct 12
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.

Description

Designer/Maker: Edmund Blacket (church); J Burcham Clamp (rectory)
Construction years: 1848-
Physical description: Positioned on a visually prominent site, the cathedral was built in the Colonial Decorated Gothic style. A sandstone construction with slate covered timber roof, the building also consists of a square tower surmounted by an octagonal turret, with a nave, two wide aisles, chancel, two vestries and two porches.

It has been noted that the landmark design of this building is reflected in its positioning and the alignment between the parapet and that of St Paul's College at the University of Sydney (also an Edmund Blacket design).

The architectural form, elevation and dimensions of the cathedral were taken from a lithograph of St Barnabas' at Homerton - designed by Arthur Ashpitel. Using English architectural patterns for inspiration was a common practice for colonial architects in Australia.

The cathedral is supplemented by a number of later buildings on the site. The former rectory (1912) was enlarged after the site's conversion to Orthodoxy to include a second storey and is now used as office and meeting space for the Archdiocese. Later buildings on the site (from the 1980s and 1990s) include the library, stores, Archbishop's residence and St Andrew's Greek Orthodox Theological College.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The church is in very good condition and its ongoing maintenance is most likely a result of its continuous use since 1855.
Date condition updated:14 Nov 11
Modifications and dates: 1911 - Government resumption of acres of church land to widen adjacent railway tunnel resulted in demolition of school (1854) and rectory (1864)
1912 - construction of new rectory
1913 - minor works to church (under direction of Blacket & Sons Architects) included addition of stone vestry, re-slating of roof and probable addition of ventilation cowels
1967-70 - internal alterations to conform to Greek Orthodox liturgy
1970 - ikonastasis installed
1980s/90s - construction of surrounding buildings on site
c1993 - rectory enlarged with second storey
Current use: Greek Orthodox Cathedral
Former use: Anglican Church

History

Historical notes: As the Sydney township expanded after the first phases of colonial settlement, the suburbs of Redfern and Chippendale were soon subdivided to accommodate the developing industry and population. To service these new communities, land was quickly selected and dedicated for the construction of essential government facilities - namely a church and school. By 1846, the prominent corner location had been selected for the construction of an Anglican church and, in 1847, Bishop William Broughton - Australia's first (and only) bishop - had awarded the commission of the construction to Edmund Blacket, the diocesan architect for the Church of England in Australia.

Blacket had a particular interest in the gothic style of architecture and designed St Paul's Church in the Decorated Gothic form. During the colonial period, architecture was commissioned by the British settlers and was often designed to reflect the buildings of their homelands. The ecclesiastical building models were symbolic of Christianity and Blacket, in keeping with other colonial architects of the time, took inspiration from the design of established churches in England. The elevations and dimensions for St Pauls Church were taken from a lithograph of St Barnabas' at Homerton - designed by Arthur Ashpitel.

Following the laying of the foundation stone on St Paul's Day in January 1848, construction of St Paul's Church soon followed but work proceeded slowly due to the economic depression in the colony and the high demand for skilled labour. Built in stages, the church was - in the most part - complete by its consecration in August 1855 but almost immediately underwent further expansion to accommodate the greater population numbers now residing in the Redfern and Chippendale areas. By 1858, the southern aisle of the church was complete and, by 1875, the tower was finished.

During the second half of the nineteenth century, Redfern and Chippendale continued to be mixed suburbs of both residential and industry and it was not long before living conditions began to decline and these inner-city areas turned into slums. Efforts to improve these conditions were largely spurred by Reverend Francis Bertie Boyce who was appointed to the parish of St Pauls in 1884 (and who remained as an active and vocal leader for social reform until his retirement in 1930). A champion for clearing slums, improving living conditions, promoting pensions and alleviating working class distress, Boyce became a notable and innovative public figure in campaigning for the social improvement of his parish.

By the outbreak of the Second World War, the population decline of Redfern and Chippendale was acute with its residents leaving for the new and expanding outer suburbs of Sydney. The ethnic composition of the inner-city was in a state of change and, into the newly vacated terraces, came the European migrants who had fled war-torn Europe. A new residential demographic saw a shift in the social demand for religion and the decline of the Anglican congregation and the rise of the Orthodox migrant settlers led to the sale of the church in 1967.

Orthodoxy been present in NSW since the nineteenth century and has been practised at a number of churches around Sydney before the establishment of the cathedral in Redfern. The Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Surry Hills, built in 1898, was the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere and practised under the spiritual jurisdiction of the Church of Greece, an autocephalous branch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. Following contentious disputes amongst the leadership about the direction of the church, the congregation split and the Cathedral of St Sophia (Ayia Sofia) was established in Paddington in 1927.

After many years of tension between the churches and their prolonged period of co-existence, the two churches were finally reconciled in 1945 - a critical point in history when Australia was experiencing a steep increase in the numbers of Greek Orthodox migrants fleeing the war in Europe. The establishment of churches has always been a key element in the maintenance of faith and the provision of social support services to settling communities. With the migrant community growing steadily because of the government-assisted settlement after the war, the cathedral for Greek Orthodoxy was formed to become the focal point of cultural, education and philanthropic life in the community. Essential for the ongoing practice and celebration of their customs, traditions and language, the cathedral was an important support structure for the new communities settling and integrating into the Australian community.

With the congregation swelling and the Cathedral of St Sophia's reaching its capacity, the proposal to purchase St Paul's Church in Redfern afforded the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese an opportunity to encapsulate a cathedral and the necessary institutional facilities all on the one site. By 1970, the church had been converted and re-consecrated as the Greek Orthodox cathedral. St Sophia's has since become a parish church.

Today, the cathedral is internationally recognised as the seat of Greek Orthodoxy in Australia. It is home to the Greek Orthodox Archbishop and provides service for the most significant events within the church.



(Sources: Weir & Phillips, 2007; Tamis, 2005; Kerr, 1983; Whitington, 1936; Judd & Cable; and Withycomb; Gilchrist, vols 2 & 3; and Tsingris, 1998)

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Migration-Activities and processes associated with the resettling of people from one place to another (international, interstate, intrastate) and the impacts of such movements Developing Greek settlements-
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Migration-Activities and processes associated with the resettling of people from one place to another (international, interstate, intrastate) and the impacts of such movements Settling post-World War II migrants and refugees-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Events-Activities and processes that mark the consequences of natural and cultural occurences Providing a venue for significant events-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Cultural Social and religious life-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Religion-Activities associated with particular systems of faith and worship Adaptive new use-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Religion-Activities associated with particular systems of faith and worship Cathedral-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Religion-Activities associated with particular systems of faith and worship Practising Orthodoxy-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Cathedral of the Annunciation of Our Lady is of state heritage significance as an important ecclesiastical design in the architectural career of Edmund Blacket. Blacket was the diocesan architect for the Church of England and was awarded three important commissions in the late 1840s - these being St Paul's in Redfern, Church of the Holy Trinity in Berrima and St Phillips in Church Hill. Blacket designed different Gothic forms for each of these churches and, in doing so, established the architectural model for parish church construction throughout NSW.

This item is also significant as the Greek Orthodox Cathedral for Australia. Since its conversion and re-consecration to the Orthodox faith in 1970, the cathedral has become a cultural centre for worship, education and the continuity of Greek customs, traditions and language in Australia.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The Cathedral of the Annunciation of Our Lady has state heritage significance for its association with the migrant communities that settled in Australia following the Second World War. Establishing churches and maintaining the orthodox faith has always been a significant aspect of the Greek-Australian experience and with the settlement of a new population after the war, the formation of a cathedral for Greek Orthodoxy was of fundamental importance. The cathedral became the focal point of cultural, education and philanthropic life in the community and was essential for the ongoing practice and celebration of their customs, traditions and language.

The building also has a significant association with the acclaimed colonial architect Edmund Blacket. Blacket was the diocesan architect for the Church of England and was awarded three important commissions in the late 1840s - these being St Paul's in Redfern, Church of the Holy Trinity in Berrima and St Phillips in Church Hill. Blacket designed different Gothic forms for each of these churches and, in doing so, established the architectural model for parish church construction throughout NSW.

The former Anglican church also has a significant association with Reverend Francis Bertie Boyce, who resided over the parish from 1886 until his retirement in 1930. A notable and active leader for social reform, Boyce used his political connections to campaign for clearing slums, improving living conditions, promoting pensions and alleviating working class distress.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The Cathedral of the Annunciation of Our Lady has state heritage significance as an early example of Edmund Blacket's work as Diocesan Architect for the Church of England and as a largely intact example of his ecclesiastical designs in the Colonial Decorated Gothic style. Positioned in a visually prominent location, the design of this landmark church made use of an already popular architectural style that was a potent reflection of the buildings of Britain (of home).
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The Cathedral of the Annunciation of Our Lady has state heritage significance for the important role it continues to have in the lives of the Greek Orthodox community in NSW. Following the Second World War and the government-assisted migration program, a significant Greek community settled in NSW and the establishment of a cathedral was important as a place to meet, maintain the orthodox faith and continue the Greek customs, traditions and language.

Churches have always been a significant aspect of the Greek-Australian experience and, with the settlement of a new population after the war, the cathedral became the focal point for the social, cultural, education and philanthropic life in the community. This social significance continues as the generations of migrant-descendants learn and celebrate their Greek identity.

Today, the cathedral is internationally recognised as the seat of Greek Orthodoxy in Australia and provides service for the most significant events within the church. As the Greek Orthodox cathedral in Australia, this site has particular significance for those follow the Greek Orthodox faith.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Expansion of the adjacent railway facilities saw the resumption of acres of church land in 1911 - leading to the demolition of the school (1854) and rectory (1864). Further archaeological exploration of this site may reveal evidence of these earlier buildings.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
This building may be considered rare as the seat of Greek orthodoxy in Australia but its design (originally as an Anglican church) is not particularly rare in NSW.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The Cathedral of the Annunciation of Our Lady is a representative example of Gothic-style churches designed by Edmund Blacket during his career as diocesan architect for the Church of England. During the colonial period, architecture was commissioned by the British settlers and was often designed to reflect the buildings of their homelands. The ecclesiastical building models were symbolic of Christianity and Blacket, in keeping with other colonial architects of the time, took inspiration from the design of established churches in England.

Its use as a Greek Orthodox Cathedral is also representative of religious institutions being used as a community meeting place for the continuity and practice of traditional customs and language. Churches were often used by migrant communities for this purpose.
Integrity/Intactness: Despite some internal modifications to convert the former Anglican church into its current use as the Greek Orthodox Cathedral, the building is in very good condition and retains much of its integrity and intactness.
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
HERITAGE ACT 1977
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

FRANK SARTOR
Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act - Site Specific Exemptions HERITAGE ACT 1977
ORDER UNDER SECTION 57(2)

Cathedral of the Annunciation of Our Lady
242 Cleveland Street, Redfern

SHR No. 1881

I, the Minister for Heritage, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, in pursuance of section 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, do, by this my order, grant an exemption from section 57(1) of that Act in respect of the engaging in or carrying out of any activities described in Schedule "C" by the owner, mortgagee or lessee of the land described in Schedule "B" on the item described in Schedule "A".

The Hon Robyn Parker MP
Minister for Heritage

Sydney, 12 Day of April 2012

SCHEDULE A

The item known as the Cathedral of the Annunciation of Our Lady, situated on the land described in Schedule B.

SCHEDULE B

All those pieces or parcels of land known as Lot 1 DP 235433 in Parish of Alexandria, County of Cumberland shown edged heavy black on the plan catalogued HC 2523 in the office of the Heritage Council of New South Wales.

SCHEDULE C

Internal modifications to non-significant buildings on the site. Internal and external works to the cathedral require prior formal approval from the Heritage Council of NSW;

Activities associated with the ongoing use of the cathedral for religious and community purposes, provided that no permanent physical work is undertaken;

Modification, repositioning, addition and/or removal of internal moveable items and furnishings related to the conversion of St Paul's Church into the Greek Orthodox Cathedral (excluding work to or the removal of the existing pews beyond general maintenance);

Activities for replacing security measures with similar materials/devices, provided that no additional fixings to the fabric of the cathedral are required;

Activities for installing and replacing external signage where the signs are not attached to the fabric of the cathedral;

Continuing maintenance, cleaning and repairs of existing fabric and structures, provided they do not negatively impact on the heritage significance of the place; and

All activities for gardening of existing garden beds, provided these activities do not impact on or damage existing built structures, such as retaining walls and fences.
Apr 16 2012

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0188117 Apr 12 41938 & 940
Local Environmental Plan 8109 Dec 05 154 
Register of the National Estate 0205921 Mar 78   

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenAnastasios Myrodis Tamis2005The Greeks in Australia
WrittenAndreas Papageorgopoulos1981The Greeks in Australia - A home away from home
WrittenBishop Ian Shevill (ed)1964The Orthodox and other eastern churches in Australia
WrittenDemetris Tsingris1998The Church of the Holy Trinity - Bouke & Ridges Streets, Surry Hills, Sydney: 1898-1998, 100 years of history of Greeks and Orthodoxy
WrittenHugh Gilchrist2004Australians and Greeks: 2 - The Middle Years
WrittenHugh Gilchrist2004Australians and Greeks: 3 - The Later Years
WrittenJoan Kerr1983Our Great Victorian Architect Edmund Thomas Blacket (1817-1883)
ElectronicKay Walsh & Joy W. Hooton Australian Autobiographical Narratives: Volume 2 - 1850-1900’ View detail
ElectronicKJ Cable Boyce, Francis Bertie (1844-1931) View detail
ElectronicRobert SM Withycombe Boyce, Francis Bertie (1844-1931) View detail
WrittenStephen Judd & Kenneth Cable1987Sydney Anglicans
WrittenWeir & Phillips Architects and Heritage Consultants2007Heritage Impact Statement: The Cathedral of the Annunciation of Our Lady - formerly St Paul's Church of England
WrittenYiannis E. Dimitreas1998Transplanting the Agora: Hellenic Settlement in Australia’

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5050395
File number: S90/03047, 11/03847


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