St Peter's, Eastern Hill is the Anglican parish church of the City of Melbourne. The church is located on the corner of Albert and Gisborne Streets on the eastern hill of Melbourne and, on one side, is opposite St Patrick's Cathedral, the Roman Catholic cathedral. On the other side it is opposite the Eastern Hill Fire Station. Although the church is located close to the city centre it draws parishioners and visitors from all over Melbourne and internationally. The parish is in the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne and dates from 1847.
The letters patent of Queen Victoria declaring the city status of Melbourne were read on the steps of St Peter's in 1848. The parish is well-known as belonging to the Anglo-Catholic or High Church tradition. St Peter's central position in Melbourne means it is able to extend a number of ministries from the parish including a hospital chaplain, university chaplain and parliamentary chaplain. The church is also the location of a breakfast program for Melbourne's inner-city homeless. St Peter's hosted the first meeting of Critical Mass on 25 July 2008. This group aims to draw young people from across the Melbourne diocese to engage in common prayer, share in the Eucharist and develop a support base for Anglican young adults, particularly those in the Catholic tradition.
St Peter's is the oldest Anglican church standing on its original site in the inner city area. The foundation stone was laid by Charles La Trobe on 18 June 1846. The building was first used for services in 1847 even though the first part was not completed until 1848. During the gold rush years, around 400 baptisms and a similar number of weddings took place each year. The building was extended in 1854 to bring its seating capacity up to 1050, much of this space was in galleries that were removed in 1896. The last extensions to the building took place in 1876. The first vicarage (1849) and schoolbuilding stood on land subsequently purchased by the State Parliament in 1884, following which the present vicarage and a new school building (now Keble House) were built.
And given the nature of the last photograph, it is appropriate for Psalm Sunday today to highlight a beautiful piece from John Rutter's Requiem: Part 6/7: "The Lord is my shepherd" - a setting of Psalm 23.