Recently, I took a drive to Goulburn, around an hour from Canberra, with no plan other than to wander and see what I could find. It was the first truly hot day of the season and the sun was searing by the time I saw St Saviour Cathedral.
I plodded up the hill and stumbled through the door, red-faced and sweaty. In hindsight, I might have looked slightly desperate but that didn't seem to bother the volunteer on duty. She warmly welcomed me and beamed as she spoke about the cathedral. According to her, it's the only truly gothic cathedral in Australia.
The cool air inside has that stony, musty smell that grand churches everywhere seem to have and I couldn't help but run my hands over the stone arches as I listened. I mentioned that I felt like I'd stepped through the door and into England. That was Beckett's aim! The volunteer beamed again. Beckett, it turns out, was the architect and he wanted the church to resemble the grand structures of England. It's safe to say they nailed the brief. The volunteer told me she drives twice per week from Canberra to volunteer because she feels so at peace inside the church.
I asked if I could take a look around and was given free rein and a private audience with the retired organist who had popped in to tickle the keys. As the pipes began to bellow, the atmosphere kicked up a notch. I sat, I listened and I marvelled at the desire (and ability) to bring this very English church to reality on the other side of the world in the 1800s. Whether you look at it as a matter of religion, history, architecture, or just a place to escape the sun (or cold - Goulburn can be fickle like that), a visit to St Saviours is well worth it if you're in Goulburn.