Council Elections 2020: Note 2

Vote positive by voting for the preservation of Church Square’s rarity

Published in 1855 by the Surveyor General, this is a tiny portion of James Kearney’s map of Melbourne that shows one of two Crown Land grants for train terminuses. The other, which happened to open first late in 1854, is Flinders Street Station. This portion of Kearney’s map nevertheless shows Spencer Street Station staked out with an office built by January 1854. It is in this office that the architect of Church Square, Acland Street, worked not only on laying down railway tracks before the first train service was launched at Flinders Street Station late in 1854, but worked, also, on Church Square. As Head Engineer, this was Charles Swyer’s office.* 

This is but a tiny portion of Victoria’s history embedded in the garden setting of Church Square on Acland Street, St Kilda.

Help Artefact Church Square bring this history to light at Church Square, to participate in a future in knowledge of our past.  

Today is the last day to vote in local government elections for Lake Ward.

Artefact Church Square asked all eight candidates to familiarise themselves with this history to determine whether they are fit for office as a councillor in likelihood of Church Square’s redevelopment this term.

Two candidates showed themselves prepared:
Katherine Copsey and Robbie Nyaguy.
Read their comments on Church Square by clicking onto their names.

Vote positive this election, not negative, by voting for the preservation of Church Square’s rarity and the potential for this rarity to draw statewide interest—if not national and international interest as well. 

For Lake Ward’s three councillors
please vote for
Robbie Nyaguy
Katherine Copsey
Geoffrey Conaghan

* See G Hastings, ‘An Historical Study of Church Square: New Research’, p. 14, in Artefact Church Square Annual Report 2019, Melbourne, 2020, p. 9.

Judith Buckrich

We are delighted to announce Dr Judith Buckrich, celebrated author of ‘Acland Street: the Grand Lady of St Kilda’, 2017, will join us at the upcoming AGM for a brief discussion on her work in relation to a number of points raised in ‘A Historical Study of Church Square: New Research’, 2019.

Date: Sunday 18 October
Time: 2-3:00pm
Place: Zoom – Members to register and receive your entry link into the meeting

photo: The first allotment surveyed by Thomas H Nutt in January 1842 is Church Square. You can see the allotment divided into three for a church, school and parsonage. Reserved for the Church of England as written at the very top of the block, at this point the subsequent parish that congregates at Church Square does not exist. This was the first allotment on top of the hill, around which the rest of St Kilda was subdivided. Towards the end of 1842, Acland Street was named and the original survey plan updated with each new administrative event. The image is a detail of the original 1842 survey plan, PROV, Historic Plan Collection. This survey plan is intact and safely stored at the Public Record Office of Victoria. If we can adapt the Former Bishop’s Residence into, in part, a museum, it would be wonderful to loan the original survey map to exhibit.

Council Elections 2020: Note 1

Ballot packs posted: 6 October 2020
Act if you haven’t received one by: 16 October 2020
Returned in post by: 23 October 2020
Voting is compulsory.

A shout out to Geoffry Conaghan for his mention of Church Square in response to a question by Cr David Brand concerning conservation of our heritage, during a Progressive Port Phillip’s recent Lake Ward candidate’s forum held Sunday 27 September 2020. Late in hearing of the forum with hands full completing Artefact Church Square’s first Annual Report that spans the period Geoffrey refers to, our thanks also go to Rhonda Small for posting a link to Progressive Port Phillip’s survey of candidates through the Green Knoll neighbours email group (to join, send an email). To recap, Geoffrey says: ‘ We need to look at spaces, certainly, the protection of Church Square was a major achievement for the local community and …’.

Our local council election will be held by post this year. The Victorian Electoral Commission will post ballot packs from this Tuesday 6 October, so check your mailbox. If you haven’t received one by Friday 16 October, let the Electoral Commission know. Completed ballots have either to be in the mail or hand delivered by Friday 23 October.

Heritage Council’s Decision 05 August 2019

On 16, 17 and 28 May 2019, the Heritage Council of Victoria conducted a Hearing to review Heritage Victoria’s 01 October, 2018, determination not to permit the childcare-carpark redevelopment of Church Square. That review is now complete and the Heritage Council Committee that conducted the review, has released its decision made on 5 August 2019. It reads:

Affirm determination under review

After considering all submissions received in relation to the permit review, and after conducting a hearing pursuant to Section 108 of the Heritage Act 2017, the Heritage Council has determined, pursuant to Section 108(7)(a), to affirm the determination under review and refuse to issue Permit No. P28298, in respect of the Christ Church Complex located at 14 Acland Street and 1 St Leonards Avenue, St Kilda.

Jennifer Moles (Chair)
Louise Honman
Rueben Berg

Decision Date – 5 August 2019

The Heritage Council affirms the determination by Heritage Victoria not to permit the childcare-carpark redevelopment at Church Square. We can breathe.

Please read the Committee’s decision in full here.

It is clear in our reading of the decision, that if it were not for the Committee’s adept and resolute grasp of the site’s significance, made ever-present by the Executive Director’s submissions and presentation at the Hearing, the permit would have been granted. Submissions made by additional hearing participants appear to have failed in their arguments.

It is sobering to learn of a second site visit by the Committee on 4 June 2019, a week after the Hearing concluded. If the Committee was, in fact, on the brink of rescinding the earlier determination to grant the permit instead, it seems to have given the site, itself, the decisive last word.

We must all, therefore, be thankful to Committee members Jennifer Moles, Louise Honman and Rueben Berg for their indefatigable effort to serve the heritage of Church Square, justly; as we are the Executive Director of Heritage Victoria.

We wish also to thank the Royal Historical Society of Victoria for its prompt, proactive and nimble response to our request to vet the research compiled for Artefact Church Square. We thank Rosemary Cameron in particular and Dr Andrew Lemon, especially, for the precision and diligence with which he attended his thorough assessment. Dr Lemon was once a member of the Heritage Council (1996–2003), editor of the Victorian Historical Journal (1990–99) and president of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria (2009–13). It is, therefore, an extraordinary privilege to have had Dr Lemon assess our research if not, at the time, a frightening prospect.

Having sought preliminary advice for a permit from Heritage Victoria on 7 May 2019, Artefact Church Square submitted this research as an in-depth report on the site’s significance. It formed the basis of our alternative proposal.

Laid on table

Opening of the First Legislative Council of Victoria,  13 November 1851, from sketches taken at the time by William Strutt, 1883, National Portrait Gallery.
Opening of the First Legislative Council of Victoria,  13 November 1851, from sketches taken at the time by William Strutt, 1883, National Portrait Gallery.

Today, in the Legislative Council, Parliament of Victoria, Ms Nina Taylor, our representative for the Southern Metropolitan electorate, laid Artefact Church Square’s petition on the table. Our petition is, now, officially ‘tabled’ with 53 signatures. The biggest thanks (with a thousand ricochets) to all who contributed by signing. The biggest thanks, too, to Nina Taylor.

A correction, as well. The Heritage Council Hearing concluded on 28 May 2019. The outcome will be announced in 60 days, by the end of July (not 90 days as originally mentioned). The outcome will be sent to participants as well as included on the Heritage Council’s website for all to access.


We thank Ms Nina Taylor, Labor’s representative in the Legislative Council for the Southern Metropolitan electorate, for sponsoring our petition.

Signatures close by the end of today, Monday 27 May 2019.

The petition ends 27 May, the Hearing reconvenes 28 May

The Heritage Council met 16–17 May and will reconvene for a final session on Tuesday 28 May 2019. The outcome of the Hearing will not be known for another 90 days after 28 May. From what we understand, this means the outcome will not be known until the end of August 2019.

The last day to sign Artefact Church Square’s petition is this coming Monday 27 May. The petition’s sponsor enlisted from the outset, has as yet to show her hand. If the sponsor does not come forward by the end of Monday, the petition cannot be tabled in Parliament. If our petition is not tabled, then Artefact Church Square’s alternative proposal will have failed to gain financial support from the Member for Albert Park, Martin Foley.

Artefact Church Square has made every effort to raise state funding for our alternative proposal.

These efforts have been made out of a burden of responsibility towards the church, since our objection to the church’s current proposal grew from a weekly relationship tending the church’s garden through volunteer work. As we do not wish the church financial harm, we have instead offered an alternative to its current proposal that avoids both financial and heritage detriment. 

Our alternative digs deep into Church Square. It gives Church Square’s foundations a proper sense of place by having discovered—and thereby recognising—Church Square’s significance as intertwined with an art history.

Our redevelopment would, therefore, restore the historic garden behind the church and adapt the former Bishop’s Residence into a museum that exhibits Church Square’s extraordinary history, that includes an arts and architecture library amongst an ecosystem of other art functions, and develops and administers a far sweeping public program in hoped-for collaboration with Christ Church.

In 1856, along with a handful of others concerned for artists’ financial plight at the beginning of Victoria, the architect of Church Square actively championed what has become, today, the ‘creative industries’. There is, perhaps, no better place to give this historical moment its due relevance other than through its recognition at home—in the first building the architect designed and built—at Church Square.

If by the end of Monday 27 May our petition remains unsponsored, then it will have become evident that the Member for Albert Park does not financially support Artefact Church Square’s alternative proposal. As it is unconscionable to persist as a straw alternative without substance, Artefact Church Square will therefore end, along with its alternative.

Artefact Church Square extends a heartfelt thanks to all who signed its petition.


Signatures on Artefact’s petition hosted by the Victorian Parliament’s ePetition website, have been irreplaceably lost. Two supporters noticed their signature was not counted when submitted, and let Artefact know. One sent accompanying documentation, which proved helpful. Apparently, a technical fault was recording signatures, but not counting them. Uncounted, they were then discarded. A number of signatures were retrieved, but it would have only been possible to retrieve those caught by the last backup. Any signature prior to this would have been irretrievably lost.

It is bad luck one has no other option than to accept. Nevertheless, please sign the petition again, just incase. Duplicate signatures should still increase the count by one. The database will then sort itself overnight, and correct any duplicates. If possible, please note whether the count increases when you submit your signature and, if not, please contact Artefact immediately (with documentation, preferably, but if not, still let us know).

Church Square History

Artefact has completed research for the upcoming Hearing. The research delves deep into the history of Church Square and its many connections to historical events at the beginning of Victoria. If it were not for a particular art movement of the time, the picturesque, then Charles Swyer—architect of Church Square—would not have had a vehicle through which to apply his unique experience as a railway Engineer to Church Square.

The picturesque is known as one of the more egalitarian of art movements. It enabled broad participation simply by those willing to learn to discern whether a scene carried the prerequisite of being ‘picturesque’. Walking tours were devised to find ‘that’ scene. Watercolours became the picturesque’s medium du jour, as they could be easily wielded in any wilderness without the fuss of oils, turpentine, a pallet and numerous brushes for separate colours. 

The most sympathetic redevelopment of the former Bishop’s Residence would be to build an Arts and Architecture library as a facility made accessible to the general public outside academia, where a layperson can discover the wondrous history of our own Arts and Architecture.

The reason why this would be the most sympathetic redevelopment, is that if a historical understanding of Church Square had been known beforehand, a carpark proposal for the back of Christ Church would never have seen the light. 

Church Square’s history is an art history, which is perhaps why it remains unknown to this day.


If, by the Heritage Council Hearing’s end on 17 May, the state government has not made a financial commitment to fund Artefact’s alternative redevelopment, directly, then Artefact Church Square will cease to exist and its alternative redevelopment will cease, along with it.

Artefact Church Square does not condone the exploitation of artists, nor does it support any community group or anyone that does.

Peter Johnson discusses Church Square

Peter Johnson, architect, based in St Kilda, discusses Thomas Nutt’s subdivision of St Kilda in 1842.

As part of her research into Church Square, Hastings, chair of Artefact Church Square, invited architect Peter Johnson to discuss its history on 15 December 2018. This excerpt from the video focusses on Peter’s discussion of Thomas Nutt’s subdivision of the Square in 1842. In preparation, Peter kindly supplied an image of the Square’s subdivision with Robert Hoddle’s note and signature dated 01 December 1849 that can be seen in the video. Artefact filmed Peter outside the entrance to 16 Acland St, which is on St Leonards Avenue facing Church Square and not, as the address suggests, facing Acland St. Since Artefact’s website previously described the surrounding residences as facing inward towards the Square, Hastings was uneasy about one seeming anomaly, 16 Acland St. A fortuitous conversation with Julie Watkins, however—a wonderful artist who lives and works at 16 Acland St with her husband Philip Meyer—solved the mystery. 16 Acland St does, indeed, front the Square along with surrounding residences. The conversation with Julie led to this interview with Peter Johnson.

Thanks go to Peter Johnson, Julie Watkins, Philip Meyer and Maggie Macdonald who Peter addresses in the video.

Community Alliance of Port Phillip

Artefact Church Square is most thankful to the CAPP Committee for supporting and assisting us with our petition. We are also thankful to all CAPP members who signed Artefact’s petition; with especial thanks to Rhonda Small, who is also an Artefact Church Square member.

Art Association of Australia & New Zealand

Our thanks go to the Art Association of Australia & New Zealand for its support.

The Art Association of Australia & New Zealand (AAANZ) is the peak professional body for the region’s art writers, curators, and artists. Since 1974 it has fostered the dissemination of knowledge and debate about art, curatorship, and artistic practice throughout the region. By increasing the visibility of Australasian artists, curators and writers and encouraging critical inquiry into their work, the Association plays an important role in supporting the resilience and sustainability of the local visual arts sector.

Petition Notice

To uphold Heritage Victoria’s 01 October 2018 refusal to give a heritage permit to a childcare-carpark development at 14 Acland St, St Kilda, your support for Artefact Church Square’s alternative redevelopment is crucial. Please sign Artefact’s petition to help secure the necessary funding to save the green space behind Christ Church and, by doing so, to save Church Square in its entirety for prosperity as a whole, as an artefact.

By signing, you will be asking the government to act by pledging:

 a financial commitment to the not-for-profit redevelopment project by Artefact Church Square to save the green space behind Christ Church, St Kilda and invest in infrastructure for this space that includes an arts library, art therapy centre and independent office of research for improving income and employment outcomes for artists in compliance with departmental determinations of creative excellence.

Artefact’s redevelopment project will conserve the former Bishop’s Residence at the back of Christ Church as an Arts Museum. By doing so, it will:
– Save the Eildon Road Children’s Centre across the road that is not-for-profit and community run, by preventing a commercial childcare centre and carpark planned for the back of Christ Church, from going ahead;
– Save the green space behind Christ Church as open space that invites neighbours into a sense of belonging;
– Save artists from debilitating financial insecurity that dangles them over the poverty line no matter how hard they work, and dwarfs the state’s true potential for cultural wealth;

Save the heritage significance of Church Square by reactivating Church Square’s civic commitment to the surrounding community in its historic role as central to a socially cohesive community.

The development will include an:
– Art therapy centre for sexually abused children;
– Public arts library that focusses on Australian arts and architecture with an:
– Audio/visual editing suites;
– Instrumental practise studio (for those in flats and with neighbours who prefer they practise elsewhere);
– amongst other things.

Please visit Artefact Church Square’s website to find out more about its redevelopment project.

Since the 01 October 2018, Artefact Church Square has worked hard to become financially viable. 

For this time, a revenue pledge by Artefact Church Square at the upcoming appeal in May, will not be enough to stop the commercial childcare-carpark development. Although, in the first instance, the earlier pledge proves the Executive Director did not act outside statutory obligations in his refusal of the permit; in the second instance, however, at the Hearing, this will be a moot point if it can be proven there was no financial promise at the time in Artefact’s alternative, if Artefact’s alternative cannot become financially viable now.

Your support for the alternative redevelopment is crucial. 

St Kilda recollected: Julie Watkins

‘Ultra Vogue with controlled passion’, c. 2000, by Julie Watkins, concerns the change happening then in St Kilda. As Julie explains, ‘But St Kilda is a changing demographic. The people moving in were more insular and rather wary of whom they spoke to. As a literal explanation, the strange construction was in Chapel St just off Carlisle St, very secretive (gone now of course). The Safety barriers were in the O’Donnell gardens. The forecourt is the upper esplanade. The garages behind are a mix of the Castlemaine rock facade from the flats beside Linden and doors from a lane off Dalgetty St. The text on the image ‘Ultra Vogue with controlled passion’ I took from a real estates brochure for a new town house down St Leonards Avenue I thought it so amusing!’

Artefact thanks Julie Watkins for suggesting we include an image of her work, and for giving us permission do so.

19 February 2019 Meeting

The special meeting previously announced for Sunday, 17 February 2019 has changed to:–

Date: Tuesday, 19 February 2019
Time: 7:00–8:30pm
Place: Boardroom, Level 1, St Kilda RSL, Acland St
Why: To decide Artefact’s role in the upcoming Hearing
Who: Artefact Members and guests.
Guests: Heritage submitters, email subscribers and courtesy invitees
Vote: Artefact Members

Guests are invited to attend and partake in the discussion. Please note, however, that members, only, can vote. If you support Artefact, please become a member.

Artefact Church Square claims that Heritage Victoria’s permit refusal on 01 October 2018 was as a result of Artefact’s submission to Heritage Victoria to the extent that, without it, the permit could not have been refused. In other words, Artefact saved Church Square as a whole, as an ‘artefact’. In light of which, support for Artefact’s alternative proposal — an Arts Library, etc — grew, since the choice was simple: carpark or open space with Arts Library.

Artefact’s analysis in view of the upcoming 16-17 May Hearing makes, again, this claim. An excellent Heritage Officer’s Report that informed the 01 October permit refusal has, however, recently been released that does not — in any shape or form — support Artefact’s claim. It appears the Executive Director would have reached the same conclusion on 01 October without Artefact’s submission. 

Artefact’s claim is, therefore, unsubstantiated, which makes Artefact unable, as a result, to build the community support needed for the upcoming Hearing. 

After an informed discussion, members will vote on whether Artefact’s claim is justified and deserved of community support in the upcoming Hearing where, if not, Artefact will dissolve. Members with expert experience in heritage conservation will be a part of the discussion, as will certain invited guests.

Peter Johnson discusses 16 Acland St

Peter Johnson’s family roots extend as far as Perth, where his great-grandfather George R. Johnson designed the Cremorne on Hay St in 1896. Hay St, Perth, is the equivalent of Bourke, St, Melbourne, and Pitt St, Sydney, in that they all, in part, are the city’s central mall. This photo is by Ken Hotchkin in 1965

On this first day of 2019, we thank all who either joined our email list or—for those who went one step further—have become members of Artefact Church Square (Artefact CS) in support of the alternative redevelopment of an Arts Library. In particular, we thank you for the wonderful messages of encouragement you have included in your sign-up submissions that, by the way, work.

It is on one of these sign-up occasions that a discussion developed between Artefact CS and Julie Watkins and Philip Meyer who live at the curious address of 16 Acland St, St Kilda, next door to the Christ Church Complex (Church Square). It is curious since the address suggests it fronts Acland St when, in fact, it fronts Church Square at the corner of St Leonards Avenue.

To discuss this, we are fortunate to introduce Peter Johnson into the conversation, who not only discovered this curiosity some time ago while delving into the historical relevance of the address, but is also an architect of long standing in St Kilda whose family tree extends far into St Kilda’s streets in the form of the buildings we walk past every day. The architect of the Gatwick Private Hotel at 34 Fitzroy St recently purchased for the televised series The Block is, for example, Harry Raymond Johnson (1892-1954), Peter’s grandfather.

It is, therefore, our greatest delight to present this video of Peter discussing 16 Acland St with Maggie Macdonald. With it, we welcome new members to Artefact CS and thank present members for recognising the role the alternative redevelopment of an Arts library played in staving off the development of a carpark behind Christ Church. By showing support as, now, a community for the alternative redevelopment in both its past role and future hoped-for realisation, we aim to uphold Heritage Victoria’s 01 October ruling in the upcoming Heritage Council Review on 02 April 2019 in a constructive, communally inclusive and effective a manner as possible. So please—if you haven’t already—join us.

Artists’ Letter of Support

On 15 December 2018, signatories filled the first page of the Artists’ Letter of Support for the alternative redevelopment of an Arts Library that would save the green space behind Christ Church and keep Church Square intact and maintained. While artists outside St Kilda have expressed they would like, also, to show their support for the project, we are still establishing a means to facilitate this. Meanwhile, our biggest thanks and neverending good cheer so far goes to Dr Bernhard Sachs, Lewis Miller, Gavin Brown, Peter Johnson architect, David Thomas and Chris Beaumont.

The Immaculate Resemblance

Lewis Miller

Christ Church, 1854-7, and Vincent van Gogh’s ‘The Church at Auvers’, 1890

If you hit upon the lucky trifecta of 1) a discussion of Christ Church, Acland St, 2) while at Vale St studios, and 3) the artist Lewis Miller is present, then you will be rewarded with this sweet resemblance between van Gogh’s oil painting ‘The Church at Auvers’ of 1890, and the view of Christ Church from the back. And if a moment’s stall lingers too long before the resemblance is abundantly apparent to you then, sweeter still, the above page showing the painting will be promptly opened, where you will be left — ever so impressively — in no doubt.

Letter of support by artists

Lewis Miller

Lewis Miller is an artist of little need for introduction. A St Kilda resident since 1979, Lewis’ still lifes and portraits grace the walls—if one is lucky—of many a home and state art gallery throughout Australia, as well as at the National Gallery and War Memorial in Canberra. His name, writ large in news headlines since his ‘Portrait of Allan Mitelman no 3’ won the Archibald Prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales, in 1998, carries a stature for painterly frankness that stands out, year after year, in the Australian art landscape.

It is with much thanks to Lewis that a small group of artists including Tom Alberts, Lisa Barmby, Gavin Brown and myself gathered at the Vale Street studios, where we drafted a letter of support for the alternative proposal of an arts library that will preserve the green space behind Christ Church, on Acland Street.

Lewis is pictured here in his studio, amidst a mosaic of mementoes of previous works, small canvases, photos of people dear to him, the jetsam of past paintings, halved pomegranates and frequent clusters of halved oysters, within a natural light tamed to allow rich pigments to bounce. 

My thankfulness is especially due to Lewis, who was my life-drawing teacher at the Victorian College of the Arts in the late 80s. For during these classes I had what could be described as a kind of tic in my hand that would have me dig deep into a mark before shooting out then retreating, to shoot out and retreat over and over again to complete a drawing. While other teachers condemned this, Lewis kindly realised it wasn’t mannered but necessary. He let it be, as long as I worked hard at seeing. In other words, as a teacher, Lewis didn’t force uniformity, but encouraged individuality if steadfast and true. In this way, he taught us courage: the hallmark of any great teacher.

Lewis is on the Committee for Artists for Kid’s Culture that helps children, often in need, to enrich their lives. His book of elegant drawings, ‘Faces of the Genome’, published in April, 2018, by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, celebrates the scientists who mapped the genome. It can be purchased here


Permit Review Hearing set

A Permit Review has been requested in relation to the refused permit P28298, the previous permit applicant to Heritage Victoria for redevelopment at the back of Christ Church. The last day for review applications, was 30 November 2018.

The Heritage Council Committee to review the refusal has formed, with a Hearing set for 02 April 2019 [now adjourned to 16-17 May 2019].

The last Permit Review Hearing by the Heritage Council was 18 June 2018. They are not everyday events.

Christ Church is aggressively pursuing plans for a carpark on the grassed area at the back. Yet parishioners have been misguided to believe it is the City of Port Phillip forcing the carpark on them.

The City of Port Phillip’s submission to Heritage Victoria before the 01 October refusal, is effectively supportive, except for the carpark, where it writes:

Car parking area
We understand the need to provide some car parking for the proposed new use, but we are concerned about the potential detrimental impacts of the proposed car park upon the setting of the church and the ensemble of buildings within Church Square more generally.

We appreciate the design of the car park, which aims to retain as many existing trees as possible, and uses permeable and grass pavers in lieu of hard paved surfaces, is intended to reduce potential impacts. Nonetheless, it will result in alienation of a significant portion of the Church Square reserve, which historically has been a semi-public shared space (particularly in recent times since the installation of play equipment).

If in a conversation with a parishioner who regrettably believes the carpark is not their doing, but Council’s, then please refer them to this page. Or seek from City of Port Phillip a copy of its submission to Heritage Victoria, so you might highlight these paragraphs and forward them to the parishioner. To be misguided, is unfair.

Green Knoll Neighbours

Thank you Green Knoll Neighbours Group, for having included us in your latest newsletter. Our membership has grown.

For those unaware of the local group centred, it seems, around Christ Church on Acland St, simply join its email list at

No picnic, though, for some this coming Saturday. Gail will be working in Christ Church’s garden as usual. If you are walking past, please do not hesitate to say hello.

Letter of support by artists

26 11 2918 letter signed by artists in Crime St, St Kilda

While currently coordinating a letter of support by artists for the alternative proposal, this letter dated 26 November 1978 comes to mind. It was signed by artists and art historians, seven in total: Robert Jacks, Lesley Dumbrell, Janine Burke, John Davis, John Nixon, Peter Kennedy and Jenny Watson. All signatories were at flat 2, 7 Crimea St, St Kilda, to type then sign the letter. The letter calls for The Biennale of Sydney to increase the number of Australian artists to match European artists, and to increase the number of female artists to 50%. What is disturbing about the letter, is that Australian artists had actually to ask for what is sensibly fair. In other words, fairness is not automatically granted, but has actively to be sought in an inspired, collaborative, organised and determined manner. The other disturbing thing about this letter, is that if these artists had not sought fairness, no one else would have cared enough to have sought it for them—except, of course, the art historians who signed as well.


As of today, we are now Artefact Church Square Inc — a not-for-profit incorporated association.

As well, support for the alternative proposal by artists is growing, daily; both inside and outside St Kilda.

Professor Miles Lewis’ Architecture Library

Professor Miles Lewis' architecture library
Professor Miles Lewis’ architecture library

Thanks to an astute tip-off, it was an honour to meet Professor Miles Lewis in his backyard library built to house the rare architecture books he has collected. It is stunning to think Professor Lewis’ thoughts have most likely scanned every line on every page of every book now kept safe and stored on these shelves, throughout his practice and research. But one need not physically visit this library to spend hours musing between its pages. In an exemplary respect for and support of scholarship, Professor Lewis has also made an extent of this history available online. A catalogue of books in his library can be found here if ever you plan to visit — Miles Lewis’ personal library — as well as databases (Melbourne Mansions) and tour notes.

Heritage Victoria Ruling

On 01 October 2018, the Executive Director of Heritage Victoria gave a notice of refusal to grant a permit for:

Redevelopment of the former Bishops Residence (part of the Christ Church complex) into a child care centre including internal reconfiguration and refurbishment of the house, demolition of two non-contributory structures (a 1980s garage and outbuilding), construction of new buildings to house separate childcare rooms, new carpark, fencing and associated landscaping.

Reasons for refusal are:

  1. It has been determined that approval of the application would be of unacceptable detriment to the cultural heritage significance of the Christ Church Complex. Specifically, the proposed internal changes to the former Bishop’s Residence, removal of cypress pines and open space at the rear of the Church, construction of a carpark, fencing and the introduction of new pavilions within close proximity to the Church, Complex.
  2. It has been determined that a less intrusive proposal could provide an appropriate use for the former Bishop’s Residence, and a revenue for conservation works to the Church without the unacceptable detriment outlined in (1) above.