Victorian students will soon be able to research Christian theologies in one of Melbourne’s most architecturally significant buildings, St Paschal’s Precinct.
Situated in Box Hill, the Estate is owned by the Order of Friars Minor, a Catholic religious order founded in the thirteenth century by St Francis of Assisi. The site has been a place of religious significance and a hub for educational excellence since it was built by the Friars themselves to be their home in the 1930s.
In winter 2021, the University of Divinity, having negotiated a long-term lease with the Friars, will relocate to St Paschal’s, sharing the main building on the property, alongside Yarra Theological Union. The cloisters, corridors and former monastic cells provide ample space for educational activities in a spiritually rich, inspirational environment, while St Paschal’s Church offers facilities for major events such as University Graduation Ceremonies.
On Tuesday 11 May 2021, the Minister for Higher Education, The Hon. Gayle Tierney MLC, toured the University of Divinity’s new home in heritage-listed St Paschal’s Precinct and discussed new course offerings with staff and students.
Architects Smith and Tracey and builders Renew Constructions have been tasked with modernising the monastery, alongside the restoration of historical features including the original 1930s floor in the refectory, the wooden-beamed ceiling in the lecture hall, and restoration of glass panels in the magnificent front entrance. The redevelopment will house the University’s new Indigenous Studies Centre and provide the University with its own dedicated spaces for learning, research and administration spaces, in addition to the facilities at its Colleges. It is expected to be completed in August.