I've kept this blog, on and off, since 2006. In 2015 I used it to chart daily encounters, images, thoughts and feelings about volcanic basalt/bluestone in Melbourne and Victoria, especially in the first part of the year. I plan to write a book provisionally titled Bluestone: An Emotional History, about human uses of and feelings for bluestone. But I am also working on quite a few other projects and a big grant application, especially now I am on research leave. I'm working mostly from home, then, for six months, and will need online sociability for company!

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

My Year with Bluestone: Hungarians and heritage

The spire of this church is a familiar landmark around these parts. It's new and shiny, and visible from the city as you walk towards Fitzroy. It's also positioned where Brunswick St and St Georges Rd meet, and opposite the Edinburgh gardens, so it's a great landmark.

The church was originally St Luke's Anglican, built in 1879 - 91 and designed by architects Crouch and Wilson, whose work I feel sure we will meet again.

A document on the Victorian Heritage Database remarks: "constructed of bluestone with cream brickwork and pressed cement mouldings." But a less neutral document on the same site quotes The Australasian Sketcher of April 12, 1879, who writes: "The material used in the building is bluestone, relieved with white pressed bricks and pressed cement."

I have a hunch there will be more of this kind of language, too: the heaviness of the bluestone is lightened, or "relieved" with the bricks and pressed, curved cement.

The National Estate Register is somewhat dismissive of the interior: "The exterior is intact however the interior has been painted and remodelled inappropriately." This may have something to do with the fact that it's no longer an Anglican church but a "reformed Hungarian" church. Most commentators make the point that this reflects the changing ethnic demographic of Fitzroy.

It does seem to me that bluestone struggles a bit with the gothic style here. At first glance the shapes of these arches and roundels are lovely, but there is something about the relentless blockiness of the rectangular bluestones that somewhat inhibits any possibility of soaring:

But what on earth is this totem pole doing in the front? 

The Church's website doesn't explain, though naturally it's in Hungarian and Chrome's translation may have missed a few things. 

Because I am using this blog in part as a place holder, I'm not delving deeply into every scholarly archive for each day's entry, while I work out how I will organise and write my book, but I have been struck, last night and this morning, about how little information there is online about the Hungarian church. Not even a date has leapt up at me, though I've read several times about the church being "sold" by the Anglicans to the Hungarians. It's a reminder lesson, perhaps, about how anglo/English- centred the internet is.* 

Look at this lovely image that heads up the Hungarian Church's website, though: 
Here, with the roundels featured, and without the tallest spire, the church looks less "early English", and rather more European in style, I think.

*  Just zoomed in on my photograph above. The second marble foundation stone gives the date 1949.   


Viola said...

Hello......anytime you want to know more about our beautiful church just come into the hall next to the church ( enter off Watkins rd ) on a Sunday afternoon after our church service has ended around 12 midday and ask for Steve or Rev Dezsi and we will answer any questions you may have.

Most welcome to come and talk with us, we love our church.

Stephanie Trigg said...

Thanks, Viola! The project has been put on the back burner for a while, but I hope to get back to it in the second half of this year, and will take you up on this kind offer then.

thanks! Stephanie