Did you know, the story behind the unusual structure of our Church?
In May, 1951, Father Joseph Kealy moved to Frankston to become the Parish Priest of the Frankston parish. In the same year he purchased various blocks of land for the Roman Catholic Church, one of which was 5 acres in Austin Road, Seaford. St. Anne’s Church Hall was built here in 1962.
The Roman Catholic Trust of East Melbourne commissioned Frankston builders, S.W. & J. Gardiner, to erect a church on Lot 77, Austin Road, in 1981. The architect was Denis Payne and the engineers, BJ O’Neill & Assoc.. The 600 square metre church was to seat 500, was estimated to cost $500,000 (final cost $650,000) and was called St. Anne’s church. The roof membrane was supplied by Environmental Structures (Aust.) Pty. Ltd., the crucifix created by Mrs. Leopoldine Mimovich and the tabernacle by Ernest Fries. The church was dedicated by Most Rev. T F Little 25 July 1982. The church was built for celebration of the Eucharist and liturgical prayer as well as providing a chapel-meeting room for the parish. The tent form of the church was liturgically-based with reference to Exodus (33:10) where Moses encountered the Lord Yahweh in a tent, while in the New Testament St. John noted that ‘The Word was made flesh and pitched his tent among us’. The twelve masts supporting the tent symbolized the twelve apostles while the cable network radiating from the cross resembled the influence of Jesus Christ.
The most recent structure investigated in this study, this church is too striking a concept to ignore in any appraisal of the city’s architecture. It was also possibly the first use of teflon fibre-glass in Australia to roof a conventional permanent building.
A fan-shaped plan is a perfect vehicle for the hyperbolic paraboloid, translucent white teflon fibre glass roof which appears tent-like when viewed externally, held down by cable guys. Internally, the tan brick wall provides the visual solid, while the roof disappears as if an overcast sky.
Light membrane roofs are as yet uncommon in the southern states, in other than external canopy use, (i.e., Westgate Freeway service station canopies). This example followed American precedents and was promoted by the roof material distributor, Chemfab, and its manufacturer, Dupont.