The largest parish church in Australia, St Mary’s Star of the Sea in West Melbourne offered many acoustic and spatial possibilities in its vast neo-Gothic dimensions. This 1989 concert on December 15 was one of the early Astra concerts here and it exploited the building’s wide-spread galleries and sanctuary spaces for the theatre of mediaeval tropes and an antiphonal modern work by prominent New Zealand composer Jack Body.

The St Mary Star of the Sea Church is registered as of historical and architectural significance to the State of Victoria. For more information see the listing on the Victorian Heritage Register.

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.