What is significant?
St Mary's Church of England, now known as St Mary's Anglican Church, situated at 163 Howard Street was erected in stages between 1858 and 1868, with the official church opening occurring in 1860. The church was later consecrated in 1868. This is the third church on the site. The original building was a small zinc building lined with felt and in 1854 a larger weatherboard building was completed for use as a church while also accommodating schoolchildren. St Mary's is in the Gothic Revival style and constructed in bluestone with freestone mullions and window tracery. The architect was Lloyd Tayler and the original contractors were Pepper and Patio. The interior is austere and expansive and culminates in a distinctive vaulted crossing. There were plans for the construction of a tower and spire where the present porch is located, but due to lack of funds the porch was finished without a tower. A tower was built as part of the church in recent years. During the depression years 1928-1934 the church's Parish hall became a centre for hundreds of unemployed people every Friday night. Community hymn singing and other activities went towards cheering people up and in return each person was given a voucher from the church as a supplement to the dole. In 1947 the Diocesan Centre was established at St Mary's to deal with issues associated with living in inner industrial areas. In 1969 the Diocesan Centre changed its name to the Anglican Inner-City Mission.
How is it significant?
St Mary's Church is of historical, social, architectural and aesthetic significance to the State of Victoria.
Why is it significant?
St Mary's is of historical and social significance as the instigating church for the Diocesan Centre, now commonly known as the Anglican Inner- City Mission. The Diocesan Centre involved eight churches, and was created to deal with the problems industrialisation brought upon churches within the inner city Melbourne area. St Mary's is of social importance for its associations with the depression years as a place in which people sang to earn their dole rewards. The building served as an anchor point for the people of North Melbourne for many years. The structure is of historical importance as one of North Melbourne's oldest buildings.
St Mary's is of architectural significance as a rare example of a church, which uses soaring arches and rib vaulted crossing. The church is architecturally unusual for its simple interior design at a time when the fashion was for extravagantly elaborate and colourful ornamentation. The church is of aesthetic significance as it is surrounded by attractive gardens and presents a notable composition of bluestone gables. It is of architectural importance as one of the earliest works of architect Lloyd Tayler.