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Australia, Photography, Sydney, Travel Tips

8 Gothic-Inspired Churches in Sydney You Must Visit

View of St Philip’s Church from Jamison Street.

Sydney may not be a typical destination for the devoted church tourist, however the metropolis has its own clandestine churches that dot the city-centre unnoticed. Most of these churches included in the list are historical structures that shape Christianity in Australia.  Almost all of them are centuries old, and have withstood the test of time as Christianity itself.

So without further ado, here they are:

St James’ Church

St James Church is an Anglican church built during the Macquarie period, when convict labour was apparent. It was designed by a civil architect by the name of Francis Greenway, who himself was also a transported convict from England. Built in 1819 to 1824 from local bricks, the structure is the oldest church building in Sydney CBD.

St James Church

Aside from being a great place of worship, St James Church is home to a collection of rare marble memorials from the 19th century.

The acclaimed Anglican church is located at 173 King Street and directly opposite the Hyde Park Barracks.

St Andrew’s Cathedral

Along the busy streets of George and Bathurst Streets is another Anglican church, famed for its Gothic Revival architectural design built from sandstone, which is dwarfed by the more prominent Sydney Town Hall on its right-side.  It was erected from 1837 to 1868 under the works of Edmund Blacket, who was also at the helm of other notable structures such as the University of Sydney, the Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick and three other renowned Anglican cathedrals around the country, namely,  All Saint’s in Bathurst, St Saviour’s in Goulbourn and St George’s in Perth.

St Andrew’s Cathedral is the seat of the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney.

Since the original All Saint’s Cathedral was demolished and replaced with a newer cathedral, this cathedral is the oldest in the whole of Australia.

The cathedral’s main door and dominant spires are facing the St Andrew’s Cathedral School, as it was planned to be built fronting a street where the school is now located; however the planned street was discontinued resulting to the church’s backside facing the Sydney Square.

St George’s Presbyterian Church

Few blocks away from St Andrew’s Cathedral in the street of Castlereagh, inconspicuous due to the towering buildings around it is the St George Presbyterian Church. Built in the late 1850’s by Thomas Rowe and WB Field, this Gothic inspired sandstone church is still highly intact and used for worship by Presbyterian congregation.

St George’s Presbyterian Church

Although small compared to the surrounding modern buildings, the church’s steeple, which is almost half its nave, is an architectural wonder widely seen across the Castlereagh street.

Central Baptist Church

Another church along George Street is the brick and sandstone church of the Baptists. Presumably erected in the early 1930’s, this church embodies the late era of  the post-Industrial Revolution as seen with the fusion of the brick layered façade of the church and its sandstone porticos.

Central Baptist Church along George Street.

St Stephen’s Uniting Church

Opposite the Parliament House and Sydney Hospital in Macquarie Street is St Stephen’s Uniting Church. Established in 1935, the building is another example of the Gothic-inspired architecture predominant in earlier structural designs of churches.

St Stephen’s Uniting church at Macquarie Street.

The church is listed with a heritage status by the National Trust of Australia, making it one of the most visited churches in Sydney CBD.

St Philip’s Church

Located in what is termed as the Church Hill, St Philip’s Church is known for being the oldest parish in Australia convened in 1788. However, the present church is not the original structure built in 1793. The current Gothic-inspired perpendicular church was erected from 1848 to 1856 to replace the former sandstone church in the same locale.

The perpendicular tower of St Philip’s Church was modeled after Magdalen Tower in Oxford, England.

This sandstone church located along York Street is listed in the Register of the National Estate along with the famed Sydney Opera House, Sydney Hospital and Sydney Town Hall as well as other renowned structures around the metropolis.

St Patrick’s Catholic Church

Considered to be the oldest Catholic church in Sydney in terms of its construction, as St Mary’s Cathedral was rebuilt in 1882 due to its burning in 1865.

The facade of St Patrick’s Church.

The church’s building was re-designed by its architect, John Frederick Hilly, when the first planned structure did not eventuate due to the spatial limit of the location. Construction of the church was started in 1844 in a land donated by an Irish transportee, William Davis.

Among its prominent structures are the high altar (created in Paris, France and eventually mounted in 1889), colourful stained glass windows, and statues.

The interior of St Patrick’s Catholic Church.

St Patrick’s Catholic Church is situated at 20 Grosvenor Street in the famed The Rocks, and is a few walks away from another well-known church, the St Philip’s Church.

St Mary’s Cathedral

The most widely known church among tourists in Sydney is the St Mary’s Cathedral at St Mary’s Road. Its left side is widely visible when one is at Hyde Park especially at the majestic Archibald Fountain.

During the Holiday Season, St Mary’s Cathedral is one of the city’s famous structures that are lit with colourful beam of lights, making it one of the most anticipated and photographed buildings during the festive season.

A view of St Mary’s Cathedral from the grounds of Hyde Park.

The current structure was rebuilt in 1882 by John Young, who is also known for building “The Abbey” in Annandale, NSW. Its structural design is of Gothic Revival and built from sandstone.

St Marys Cathedral has the title of Basilica   Minor as conferred by Pope Pius XI in 1932.

These eight churches around Sydney metro that we have listed are just a few blocks away from each other by foot. There are other well-known churches you can still visit, however not all are as close to each other as the ones listed above.


13 thoughts on “8 Gothic-Inspired Churches in Sydney You Must Visit

  1. Those churches are really great. I personally love the look of St. Mary’s Cathedral.

    Posted by Jenna | October 3, 2012, 1:37 PM
  2. We obviously need a return trip to Sydney. Beautiful.

    Posted by JustOneBoomer (Suzanne) | October 3, 2012, 2:04 PM
  3. Love your photos!

    Posted by Carol | October 4, 2012, 11:06 AM
  4. Beautiful, thank you so much for sharing.

    Posted by servantofcharity | October 5, 2012, 1:00 AM
  5. I like St Mary’s – very different. The city really looks like it grew up around many of these churches.

    Posted by Lynne Ayers | January 4, 2013, 1:52 AM
  6. I like wee St George, squeezed in between two larger buildings! And St Mary’s is very impressive, on par with some English cathedrals.

    Posted by Bron | January 14, 2013, 3:21 PM
  7. These are great! I didn’t get to swing through Sydney much. I did get to see the wonderful architecture of St Joseph’s Catholic Church in Warrnambool though. Gorgeous churches in Oz! I got to sit and admire it while waiting outside the salvo 😉

    Posted by Lisa | December 17, 2013, 10:58 AM

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