825 Bourke Street, Victoria Harbour (Docklands)
Automotive Centre of Excellence
[1 Batman’s Hill Drive]
Docklands VIC 3008
This is a precious old building left intact in the middle of an area of rapid development. Now that it is far from the ships that it services, I hope it doesn’t suffer the fate of the Mission at Prt Melbourne (now Beacon Cove). A mishmash of spanish mission and arts and crafts styles, the building is full of the unexpected. The Norla Gymnasium is an example – roughly hewn, it is instantly my favorite dome interior – but I haven’t been to Rome. Let’s hope they do the mooted refurb sensitively. The chapel is hard to describe, and impossible to photograph without a wide lens, so visit it. Of interest are the pulpit shaped like the back of a galleon, and the varying naive modern(?) stained glass windows. The bar (which is open to the public every day) is a great space too, particularly its shallow vault, and broken beer bottle bar front. This complex complex was designed by Walter Butler and built in 1916 to 1917. The name was apparently changed from Mission to Seamen to Mission to Seafarer in 2000, for unknown reasons.