Corpus Christi College, Clayton was closed in 1999, and the Seminary was moved to the inner city suburb of Carlton in 2000. It was the hope and intention of the Trustees that the new site would permit the seminarians to have more of a presence at Melbourne’s Cathedral. Proximity to the University of Melbourne and the Australian Catholic University would assist the seminarians academically, and a more central position in the city could widen the opportunities for pastoral placements.
In 1999 Catholic Theological College moved to Victoria Pde. East Melbourne, a short distance from the seminary and continues to provide the academic formation for the seminarians. Catholic Theological College is a member college of the University of Divinity.
The new seminary is built on the site of the Carlton parish, adapting the original parish church as the chapel, and redeveloping the site of the old parish school as a residential block, administrative facilities and dining room. The dining room is named “Cluny” in grateful remembrance of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny, who service to the seminary concluded with its move to Carlton.
Some history of St George’s church, carlton
The site of the Carlton seminary dates back to 1855. In that year, due to the needs of the growing population of Carlton, Bishop James Alipius Goold, first Bishop of Melbourne, laid the foundation stone of St George’s Church.
In 1881 it became a parish in its own right and the Rev. James Hannessy O’Connell, became the new parish’s first pastor. Fr O’Connell also built the presbytery on Rathdowne Street which is today occupied by Melbourne’s Ministry for Priests. Work also began on St George’s Hall completed in 1884.
St George’s School followed. In 1897, the Sisters of Charity took charge of the education of girls. In 1902, the Christian Brothers took charge of the education of boys. The combined efforts of Fr O’Connell, the Sisters of Charity, and the Christian Brothers, meant the Church in Carlton was renowned for its high quality of education. Building continued. In 1913, the foundation stone was laid for St George’s Infant School and Kindergarten. In 1927, the foundation stone was laid for St George’s Girl School.
Archbishop Thomas Joseph Carr, second bishop of Melbourne, decided to build a new church on the corner of Rathdowne and Pelham Streets. A generous benefactor left her entire estate to its construction ― on the condition that the new church be dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The seminary now cares for the church of the Sacred Heart.
The Carlton site continued to accommodate the catechetical needs of Australian Catholics for 80 years, and this tradition continues today. Although the two churches and the presbytery are the only structures still preserved, the new buildings which occupy the site are dedicated to the education and formation of tomorrow’s priests.