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In 1857 tenders were called for the erection of a Roman Catholic Church on the corner of Sutherland's Creek Road and Loundes Road, Steiglitz. The church was designed by architects Shaw and Dowden and built of local quartzite sandstone. It was named St. Johns and was used as both church and school until 1873 and then continued as a church until the early 1950s.
Over the following years it gradually fell into disrepair until, in 1983 the University negotiated with the Catholic Church, the National Trust and local authorities for the re-location and restoration of the building. This was a painstaking task achieved by a team that comprised members of the University staff, various specialists and young people working under the Employment Initiatives Program.
The Chapel was rebuilt block by block. Most of the windows came from the demolished St. Augustines Anglican Church in North Melbourne and the furniture was provided by the Friends of Deakin.
It was officially opened by His Excellency, the Governor of Victoria, Dr. Davis McCaughey, on 19 December 1986. As he said on that occasion "This building speaks of a past, going back to the pioneers in the Sutherlands Creek district; and it is a building of character and beauty".
It is truly ecumenical church for the present and future. It combines architectural elements from both the Catholic and Anglican traditions and now welcomes people of diverse religious backgrounds in their prayer and worship.
Nestled near the lake just west of the administration buildings is the picturesque stone chapel. It is a focus of religious activity on the Geelong campus and is used regularly by the Chaplains and student religious groups. The sandstone church is in English Gothic style, with white internal walls set with stained glass windows. The Chapel is carpeted and simply furnished with a wooden altar and upholstered chairs.
The original timber doors open to a paved area and lawns. A path leads across a bridge to the Deakin Lakehouse a successful café and function centre.
The Chapel in its present form comprises a number of elements brought together from various areas of Victoria by people who wished to provide a religious centre for students and staff of the University and to preserve one of the historical churches of the district.
There is seating for up to 60 guests, and 80 can be accommodated with standing room. The Chapel is non-denominal and details of the University Chaplain can be provided.
For booking information, please see Deakin Lakehouse or contact:
Simone Hall or Lisa Swanson
Telephone: 03 5227 1273