Maude St churches taking on a new life

The Church @ MaudeA Game of Thrones-themed high-end bar and Shepparton’s newest function space complete with stained glass windows are giving two Maude St churches a new lease on life.

Shepparton’s Gobie Raju, whose previous projects include Belcibo and Billabong Garden café, bought the neighbouring churches in 2021 after they were listed for sale by Shepparton Uniting Church’s congregation.

Both buildings are heritage listed, so while the exteriors look mostly unchanged, inside is where the transformation is taking place.

The northside church is a new function space called The Church @ Maude.

The blue carpet has been ripped up revealing timber flooring underneath, the interior has been repainted and updated — including installing air conditioning for peak summer days.


The Church @ Maude
Event space: Gobie Raju bought the two churches in 2021. Photo by Megan Fisher

The original stained glass windows and organ remain, in a nod to the building’s former life.

“It’s beautiful inside,” Mr Raju said.

“It’s something new in Shepparton, but this is very unique with the stained glass, tiered steps — you can have a theatre-style banquet, tapas or buffets.

“We have everything in-house; I’ve got a food truck for catering, a photographer, decorator, music system or we can arrange a live band.”

The venue has already attracted interest ahead of its first event on November 27, with bookings made and a grand opening on December 10.

Next door, the older church is still in the early stages of being renovated inside, with a new floor among the works under way.


House of Spirits: Shepparton
House of Spirits: The older church will open as a high-end, medieval-themed bar in winter 2023. Photo by Megan Fisher

It is set to become a medieval bar called House of Spirits, inspired by Mr Raju being a “big fan” of fantasy drama television show Game of Thrones.

“It’s going to be very high-end with single malt scotch, fine wines, beer from all around the world, and very simple spirits,” he said.

Mr Raju says he was taking his time with the bar, which is looking at a winter 2023 opening; on theme with a popular saying from the show and the title of the first episode, ‘Winter Is Coming’.

He has even engaged someone in Kyabram to build a replica of the iconic ‘Iron Throne’.

The Church @ Maude is located at 162 Maude St, Shepparton; for more information and booking inquiries, visit The Church @ Maude Facebook page, email or call Mr Raju on 0401 501 919 or Anita on 0435 765 239.


New offering: Gobie Raju and his dog Father Polo
New offering: Gobie Raju and his dog Father Polo outside new function space The Church @ Maude in Shepparton. Photo by Megan Fisher


Image Credit: Shepparton News/Megan Fisher


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