St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Patrick Street, makes a significant contribution to this local area of Stawell. Constructed in 1873, the building was designed in a Victorian Gothic Revival style typical of the influential English architect, Charles Hansom. This design has been attributed to Henry Caselli who was greatly influenced by Hansom. The building is largely intact both externally and internally, and represents one of few extant Hansom-influenced Victorian Gothic Revival styled churches in Victoria.
St. Patrick's Catholic Church is architecturally significant at a STATE level. It demonstrates original design qualities of a Victorian Gothic Revival style that have their origins in the influential work of English Gothic Revivalist, Charles Hansom. These qualities include the steeply pitched and parapetted gable roof form of the nave and chancel, and the projecting transepts, and the octagonal tower at the side. Other intact qualities include the Grampians freestone wall construction, clad roof cladding and ventilation dormers, gable crosses, buttresses with gabled copings, gabled drip moulds and incised quatrefoils (based on octagonal turret), Decorated tracery windows, freestone drip moulds, and the pointed double door openings. There are also internal features that contribute to the significance of the place. These features include the coved timber lined ceiling adorned with timber scissor trusses, gallery with decorative timber balustrade, Gothic Revival styled marble altar with elongated pinnacles, timber seating and other furniture, plastered wall finishes and quoinwork about the main arch.
St. Patrick's Catholic Church is historically significant at a STATE level. The design is derived from the designs prepared by the English architect Charles Hansom prepared for the Catholic Church for use in Victoria. The building is also associated with the architects, Henry Caselli, George Inskip and William Conolly. The church is associated with Catholic life in Stawell from 1871.
St. Patrick's Catholic Church is socially significant at a LOCAL level. It is recognised and valued by the Stawell Catholic community for religious and cultural reasons.
Overall, St. Patrick's Catholic Church is of STATE significance.
St Patricks Church, 29-31 Patrick Street, STAWELL - Physical Description 1
The St. Patrick's Church site in Patrick Street, Stawell, is dominated by the Victorian Gothic Revival styled Catholic church building that is surrounded by opened grassed and asphalt grounds, and adorned with mature and early pine trees and shrubs.
The Grampians sandstone, Victorian Gothic Revival styled St. Patrick's Church building is largely a version of the Victorian Gothic Revival church designs by the English architect, Charles Hansom. He belonged to the English Gothic Revival movement lead by Augustus Welby Pugin. The English Gothic Revival in the early 19th century largely belonged to the Roman Catholics, and it was architects like Hansom that provided the architectural exemplars.
Although attributed to Henry Caselli, the design features of St. Patrick's Church in Stawell are typical of Hansom's work, who greatly influenced Caselli. The steeply pitched and parapetted gable roof form of the nave and chancel, and the projecting transepts, and especially the octagonal tower at the side, were distinctive features of Hansom's work. The gabled roof forms are clad in early slate and the nave roof is adorned with ventilation dormers. The gable ends are decorated with crosses, while the buttresses are crowned with gabled copings.
The base of the octagonal turret is adorned with gabled drip moulds with incised quatrefoils. Other early decorative features of the design include the large Decorated tracery window on the main gable, freestone drip moulds, pointed double door opening and the side tracery windows. Additional pointed doorways are situated at the rear and side.
Internally, the building is characterised by the coved timber lined ceiling adorned with early timber scissor trusses. Above the main entrance doors is the gallery with decorative timber balcony balustrade. The centrepiece of the interior is the marble altar decorated in a Gothic Revival style and adorned with elongated pinnacles. The plastered walls are largely plain in appearance, although there is some quoinwork about the main arch. The timber seating and other furniture also appear to be early.
Other very similar Hansom-influenced Victorian Gothic Revival churches in Victoria include:
St. Augustine's Roman Catholic Church, Napier Street, Creswick, 1870-72, designed by Charles Hansom and supervised by Henry Caselli;
St. Augustine's Roman Catholic Church, 636 Fullarton Road, Keilor, c.1858, possibly designed by Charles Hansom and supervised by J.M. Barry (local architect);
St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, Princes Highway, Port Fairy, 1857-59, designed by Charles Hansom and supervised by Nathaniel Billing;