The Cairns Memorial Church in Powlett Street, East Melbourne was a lofty space with an elevated rear gallery close to the ceiling and raked wooden seating curving around the main performance area. This theatrical environment provided the opportunity to explore some unusual music from 17th-century Germany, instrumental theatre by the Argentinean Mauricio Kagel, and new vocal and electronic works by Australian Warren Burt.

The church was was destroyed by fire in August 1988. A slide show on the history of the church has been developed by the East Melbourne Historical Society .

For 30 years, the concerts of Astra Chamber Music Society have ranged around Melbourne’s architectural environment. Each concert has had a site-specific design that takes advantage of the marvellous visual qualities, spatial possibilities, and acoustic personality of each building. The music, in turn, contributes a new quality to the perception of the buildings, now experienced by audiences as a sounding space - an area where cultural issues from music’s history are traversed, and new ideas in Australian composition are explored.