“We try to make it a home away from home when they come in,” said Quinn, a volunteer for 45 years.
Being refused heritage protection was disheartening for the organisation, Quinn said, and he was concerned for the future of its home. “The whole centre was very disappointed.”
In the Catholic Trust’s submission to the planning panel, prepared by heritage consultant Bryce Raworth, it argued that the centre was “not widely known in Melbourne or considered iconic”, and it was only relevant for a small number of people.
The church submitted that Stella Maris had moved three times in about 90 years and that protection was unnecessary with the Mission to Seamen building on Flinders Street already heritage listed. “We don’t need every example to complete the showbag.”
Two heritage experts providing evidence for the council pushed for the building’s protection, saying that the community’s small size should not exclude it from having social significance and the structure’s unique design drove curiosity in passersby.
The panel concluded the site’s significance hadn’t been adequately established and recommended abandoning its inclusion in the heritage review.
A spokesperson for the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne did not comment on plans for the site but said they supported Stella Maris’ continuation and strengthening into the future. They said the panel’s decision was based on the…