Sunday 16 September 2012


The Monash Religious Centre, designed by John Mockridge of the Melbourne architectural firm Mockridge Stahle & Mitchell, was built in 1967-8 at the new Monash University. The university opened in 1961, and the Religious Centre was planned by the Christian and Jewish communities of Melbourne as a space that could be used by all religious groups. The funds were raised by the different groups and the building was then presented to the university, to dissociate it from any one religious tradition.

The Religious Centre was seen at the time as an important ecumenical exercise and part of the process of reassessment and reform within the churches, including moves towards liturgical experimentation, greater social relevance and greater interaction with other religious traditions. Mockridge Stahle & Mitchell, with John Mockridge as the principal designer, was a prominent architectural firm established in Melbourne in 1948, and was particularly well-known for its designs for school and university buildings and churches.

Mockridge chose the circular form of the building as a symbol of unity, eternity and ecumenical feeling. With the growth of a significant non-Western student population, the Centre has been increasingly used by other religious groups, particularly Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus. The building is used for Christian and Jewish services, Muslim prayers, Bible studies, Catholic confession, meetings of the religious societies, discussion groups and social gatherings, as well as joint ceremonies by representatives of the different users.

The organ, made by Ronald Sharp of Sydney, was installed in 1978 in the Large Chapel, which is also used for organ practice, choir rehearsals, concerts, weddings and funerals.

In these troubled times, worldwide, it is important to remember the ecumenical spirituality that all great religions share and that if all the faithful, whatever their faith chose to follow their religious principles, there would be little place for violence in the world.

This post is part of the
Spiritual Sunday meme,
and also part of the Psalm Sunday meme.

And here is Joseph Haydn's setting of Psalm 19:1 from the Creation, sung in German: "Die Himmel erzählen die Ehre Gottes".


  1. You do have a knack for finding the most fascinating places in our wonderful city Nick.

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  3. Another beautiful building - and I totally agree with your final statement. Wonderfully done today, Nick!

  4. there is something so special and sacred about a circle and this building is delightful, not only in design but purpose

    i love seeing melbourne through your eyes
    you should do walking tours :-)


  5. No wonder a lot of Malaysians doing their final year college at Monash with the twinning programmes from KL !

  6. I do agree with Kel and I, too, do so enjoy seeing Melbourne through your eyes, Nick! Such a beautiful, modern church! I like the idea of the circle! Hope you have a wonderful week ahead! Enjoy!

  7. Thank you very much for your kind participation !

    Even though it looks very modern, one can feel the timeless Good within. Like the circle idea as well much. Thank you for this journey. Please have a good new week ahead.

  8. What a phenomenal place! Thanks so much for sharing it with us. I love the background info you gave, too.

  9. My husband is a musician and would love to play this organ. It was an interesting tour!

  10. In these days of violence your post gives me some hope.

    The name Monash Uni was familiar to me because I knew Cardinal Pell studied there, but I had never heard of their Religious Center. Long may it be a peaceful and useful place for all.

  11. I like the free-flowing lines and the colors in those stained glass windows.


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