Heritage Trail

William Carey Chapel

Opened in 1971, the William Carey Chapel is both an iconic feature of the Kew campus and an important spiritual hub for the School.

William Carey Chapel
William Carey Chapel

With its distinctive pyramid roof, the William Carey Chapel has been a striking landmark on the School’s landscape since 1971.

The Chapel was officially opened and dedicated on Sunday 1 August 1971, in the presence of a representative congregation of parents, staff, alumni and the Captains of the Junior and Senior Schools. The Rev. Merlyn Holly, President of the Baptist Union of Victoria, presided. 

The Chapel design and function was the result of School Chaplain, Rev. Alan Wright's imaginative and perceptive thinking. 

The William Carey Chapel was a milestone in the history of the School. Many people had worked over the years for the day when a chapel would be built at Carey and the Forward Carey Appeal of 1960 and donors ultimately made it possible. 

Headmaster G L Cramer commented, ‘It was the first chapel ever to be built in a non-Roman Catholic day-school in Victoria. The Chapel symbolised the place of religion in a church school; it was in a sense the embodiment of twenty centuries of Christian tradition; yet it was in no sense anachronistic as shown in its involvement in the life of the school through services, form and house assemblies, discussion periods, religious films and drama.’ (from 1971 and 1972 Carey Chronicle).

During 2019–20, the Chapel underwent redevelopment to provide a modern worship and educational space with refreshed interiors, increased seating capacity and enhanced functionality. The Chapel was rededicated on Friday 6 May 2022.

The Symbolic Tree sculpture by Clifton Pugh

Clifton Pugh AO (1924–1990) was an Australian sculptor and painter, best known for his landscapes and portraits. Also referred to as the Tree of Life, the sculpture (pictured right) was created to be placed in the baptistry (or font), where a few baptisms did take place in Carey's early days.

The baptistry and sculpture have since been removed to create more space for our ever-growing community within our chapel.

In his memoir, A Chaplain Remembers, Rev. Alan Wright describes the Symbolic Tree as a representation of 'the challenge, pain, and joy of our journey into fullness of being – with God.'

Fun facts

The Chapel has been the venue for marriage and funeral services of many Carey alumni.

‘I suspect William Carey, innovative pioneer of education in India, may have been responsible for educating more students in India than the school named after him has done!’

– Tony McCutcheon, School Captain (1951)

The William Carey Chapel today

This is a stop on Carey's Heritage Trail.

Learn about the Heritage Trail here.

Carey's History teachers recognised for excellence
Carey's History teachers recognised for excellence
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