Visiting artist blown away by beauty of historic chapel

Visiting artist blown away by beauty of historic chapel
Brendan Rees

A Sydney-based artist who captured the beauty of a century-old chapel at the Mission to Seafarers in Docklands says the heritage building was a “little gem to find”.

Rooi Ping Lim’s stunning watercolour piece of the 1917-built St Peter’s Mariner Chapel immediately impressed staff and volunteers after a photo of her work was posted to the Mission’s Facebook page.

Rooi said she had been visiting family during her trip to Melbourne over the new year period when she stumbled across the historic building following a sketching session of the historic Polly Woodside tall ship.

“It’s a perfect space – it’s a beautiful building. Some places just bring calm and it’s just a happy place. I knew I had to sketch there,” she said.


The chapel blew me away, it’s such a lovely little gem to find. I’m surprised a lot of my Melbourne sketching friends don’t know that place.


The Mission’s CEO Sue Dight said she saw Rooi sketching for about two hours while she toured the building, which is based at the end of Flinders St.  

“It’s a beautiful piece which really does capture the essence of the chapel,” Ms Dight said of the artwork which featured the chapel’s stunning stained-glass windows and rough-hewn timber trusses. 

Rooi, who came to Australia from Malaysia 18 years ago and is a print manager by day, said she would be coming back to Melbourne in March, with the Mission to Seafarers being at the top of her places to revisit.

“I love architecture, I get all excited. There are too many old buildings in Sydney and Melbourne that are disappearing which is very sad.” 

She said her artwork of the chapel was still in her sketchbook but was looking to sell it on her website ( if she “could part with it”.

The Mission is an international mission of the Anglican Church that cares for the practical and spiritual welfare of seafarers of all nationalities and faiths.

Ms Dight said the building was open every day to the public with everyone welcome to visit.

“People can wander into sketch, to photograph, and to gather ideas for the Maritime Art Prize and Exhibition which will be held again in its 20th year in October. The theme will be ‘humanity and the sea’.”  •


Caption: Rooi Ping Lim with her artwork of the St Peter’s Mariner Chapel in Docklands.

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