A most remarkable environment for sound, space and enlightenment

The Mission’s distinctive dome is familiar to most Melburnians.

Why Norla?

Norla was the residence of Sir Simon and Lady Fraser in Irving Road, Toorak. The regular fêtes held at Norla had raised considerable funds for the construction of the Mission complex, and in October 1917 £700 was raised at the fête for the construction of a gymnasium for seafarers. Building was delayed until the end of World War I. In 1920 the Ladies Harbour Lights Guild raised a further £300 to clear the debts incurred in building the gymnasium. The hooks in the roof of the dome are the only remaining evidence of the original gym equipment.

The Norla Dome is a feature of the MtSV’s annual Maritime Art Prize Exhibition hosted in October. The exhibition was introduced in 2002 to promote excellence in maritime and seafaring subjects in art; it is Australia’s leading maritime art prize and contributes to the fundraising efforts of the organisation.

The Dome is now also the site of a contemporary exhibition space Dome Gallery and we welcome artists to explore the themes of spirituality, maritime and cultural diversity.

In 2015, as part of an ongoing research project into the “social life” of souvenirs, Margaret Woodward, Associate Professor of Design, Charles Sturt University, mapped the mobile life of seafarers and seafaring souvenirs in a project The Sea is all around us.

The MtSV was pleased to welcome the Latin American Arts Collaborative to Dome Gallery. The exhibition was opened by The Honorable Telmo Languiller MP, who shared his appreciation for both the Latin American artist collaborative and the Dome Gallery community arts space hosting the artists.

Touring internationally, the Maitreya Loving Kindness Tour was hosted in March, exhibiting ancient relics from Tibet, India and China. Seafarers have engaged in many ways with the activities hosted at Dome Gallery, and the MtSV is thrilled to have provided a diverse calendar of events for their entertainment and interest as well as that of  the visiting public.

Originally built as a gymnasium, the Dome Gallery is a most unique space situated within the historical MtSV building – a large circular dome-shaped gallery that offers a remarkable gallery experience, capturing as it does light and sound like no other creative space that exists in Melbourne.

The original exposed brick forms the surrounding walls, while the towering concrete dome creates a ceiling with great impact. It is a space that people come to experience, and not just look at.

If you are looking for a unique gallery space to exhibit, please contact the team at the Mission or email us.


The Dome Gallery is a feature of the heritage building and is now available for corporate and private functions, exhibitions and public events.

This is an open space that can be used for any kind of creative performance or exhibition.
Dome Gallery seats up to 75 people comfortably and can accommodate 120 people cocktail style.

For enquiries contact: