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Future Conscious Melbourne
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Methodist Church, Katamatite, Australia

Location: Katamatite, Victoria, Australia
Year built: 1960
Architect: John Muir and Arthur Shepherd

Katamatite is a town of 450 people, over 200 kilometres from Melbourne and over 40 kilometres from the next large town. It’s kind of in the middle of nowhere. So it is an odd place to experiment with the modernisation of the church.

The firm went on to design a number of Methodist churches in Victoria, of which the most striking was one in the regional town of Katamatite, which was designed with two interlocking A-framed roofs to symbolise praying hands.

Completely at odds with the brick veneer and weatherboard country homes that surround it, the distinctive triangular roof forms are constructed using a series of prefabricated steel portal A-frames.

About Muir and Shepherd

John Muir and Arthur Shepherd opened offices in Melbourne and in Ballarat In 1947.

They had met while working in the office of influential modernist architects Stephenson and Turner in the 1930s. They would go on to work on mostly residential properties but their most notable works were Victoria’s first purpose-built postwar funeral parlour, now demolished, in Carlisle Street, St Kilda, the West Preston Methodist Church and tenancy fit-outs for Chadstone Shopping Centre.

Only ever seen while driving by on the way to somewhere else, the interlocking roofs symbolise praying hands in the dusty country landscape. Now it is worn and tired. It really seems small and insignificant now. But post war when it was built it was so special and ‘modern’ to the community. – Scott Williams

Photos by Built Heritage PTY LTD