100 George St

A Safe Haven for Sailors

1895

Safe haven

Throughout Sydney the abundance of booze and prostitutes proved far too tempting to resist...

With the morals of most seamen seeming to remain on the ship, it is surprising to stumble upon a church in the midst of such debauchery.

The Mariners Church, built in The Rocks in the 1850s, was welcomingly familiar to the arriving seamen. During the height of sea travel and transportation, it received thousands of visiting seamen a year..

               

Starting as a church for sailors of any denomination it was devoted to the spiritual welfare of the seamen while they were away from home, where they could participate in worship and receive counselling. It slowly transformed into a 'club-like' environment with wholesome entertainment, leisure facilities and events planned for the sailors.

The sailors and seamen found a refuge from the unsavoury activities of the port. A place where sober and thrifty habits were encouraged, and their welfare was the utmost priority.

More than a church, this was a place where the seamen could feel at home while half way across the world; relax in reading rooms, billiard rooms or gymnasiums. There were even events such as Christmas parties or dry dances with local women organised for the seamen.

Churches like this could be found in ports all around the globe at the time.

A sailor could travel from one port to another and find a community of like minded men. It linked Australia to a worldwide network of sailors and marine culture.

Churches like this could be found in ports all around the globe at the time. A sailor could travel from one port to another and find a community of like minded men. It linked Australia to a worldwide network of sailors and marine culture.

A place of wholesome merriment, in the middle of The Rocks.

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CLICK TO EXPAND CREDITS CREDITS
  • Title Circular Quay West
  • Date unknown
  • Creator unknown
  • Source confirmation forthcoming
  • Title Mariners' Church
  • Date 1909
  • Creator unknown
  • Source Sydney Bethel Union
  • Title Laying the Foundation Stone, March 1909
  • Date 1909
  • Creator unknown
  • Source Sydney Bethel Union
  • Title Gym
  • Date c.1909
  • Creator unknown
  • Source Sydney Bethel Union
  • Title Christmas Party at Mariners Church
  • Date c.1909
  • Creator unknown
  • Source Sydney Bethel Union
  • Title Main Hall
  • Date c.1909
  • Creator unknown
  • Source Sydney Bethel Union
SHFA MCA Council for the Arts Visual Arts