In 1864 the liturgical west three light stained glass window of St George’s Anglican Church at Queenscliff was donated by Dr. David John Williams (1819-1902). He was Trustee and Vestryman of St George’s Church and the first Mayor of the Borough of Queenscliffe in 1863-64. He had served in Russia as part of the English Medical Service and was appointed personal medical officer to Czar Nicholas 1st who awarded him the order of St Ann in 1842. The Czar presented him with an engraved jewel encrusted ring (which sold at auction in 1951 for £270 and at auction in 2012 for $51,000). Dr Williams also had a lead medical role at the Eureka Stockade at Ballarat in 1854 as well as other government appointed medical positions.
All the Ferguson & Urie stained glass windows were installed in St. George’s Church at Queenscliff between 1864 and 1892. The window described in this article is the liturgical ‘West’ window which fronts the street and was the first to be erected in the Church and donated by Dr. Williams. The window depicts the Evangelists. Matthew, Mark. Luke and John and the Shield of the Trinity or Apostles Creed.
Photos taken 25th September 2010.
The Argus, Melbourne, Monday 22nd February 1864, page 5.
“COUNTRY NEWS. QUEENSCLIFF”.
ST.GEORGE’S CHURCH. – A large proportion of the visitors to Queenscliff will be well pleased to hear that the episcopal church is completed, and open for public worship. It has been erected – after the designs of Mr. Albert Purchas, of Melbourne – on the summit of Swan-hill, the highest part of the borough …”
“…At the west end is a three light window, filled with stained glass, designed and executed by Messrs. Ferguson and Urie of North Melbourne…”.
“ST. GEORGE’S CHURCH, QUEENSCLIFF”
“THE church of St. George, Queenscliff, was begun to be built at the end of 1862 through the energy of Dr. Williams, the recent Government health officer at Queenscliff. It was completed in 1863, and opened for divine worship in January, 1864, by the Rev. R. Cummins, of St. Paul’s, Ballarat. In May of the same year the Rev. H. J. Wilkinson, the present incumbent, was appointed. It was consecrated by Bishop Perry in January, 1868. Its length is 67ft., and its breadth 36ft. 3in.; its height from apex of roof about 40ft. Mr. Purchas, of Melbourne, is the architect. Soon after the commencement of the church the late Judge Fellows took an active interest in it, and continued his liberal help until his death. An Estey organ has just been procured from Messrs, Glen and Co., and is at the entrance of the church. The description of the interior was recently given in a Melbourne daily journal in the following terms:- In Queenscliff itself the principal object is, undoubtedly, St. George’s Church of England, not alone from its internal beauty and perfection of arrangement, but from its being the “outward and visible sign” of the charity of one who was never weary in well doing – the late Judge fellows. The chancel window is of stained glass, and is illustrative of a portion of the Litany, each pane bearing underneath it the words of some appropriate quotation. It consists of 15 panes. The reredos is beautifully coloured, and the whole of the floor of the sanctuary is tiled. There is a marbled credence table, and the sacramental and offertory vessels are of silver, appropriately engraved. There are seats for the assistant priests within the sanctuary, one on the Episcopal, and one on the decanal side. The reading-desk, pulpit, and altar rails are all of polished oak. Over the reading-desk is painted “Pray now unto the Lord,” and over the pulpit, “Preach the Kingdom of God.” There are twelve stained glass windows dedicated to the Twelve Apostles, with suitable texts from the Epistles over each. The pews are slightly raised, as in All Saints’ Church, East St. Kilda, and are arranged so as to leave a centre aisle from the altar gate. Almost immediately over the pulpit is a plain white marble slab, bearing the inscription, “In Memory of Thomas Howard Fellows, Born 21st October 1822 Died 8th April 1878. If you seek his memorial look around.”
“WILLIAMS.- On the 18th January, at Queenscliff, David John Williams, M.D., F.R.C.S., aged 84.”
“THIS jewel of Russia’s Czarist days will be auctioned in Melbourne on Thursday. Czar Nicholas I gave it to Dr. David John Williams, a Victorian surgeon, for service aboard the Imperial yact Queen Victoria in 1847. It is set in gold and diamonds, with an amethyst centre. Dr. Williams, born in Glamorganshire in 1816, came to Australia in 1844 as surgeon-superintendent on the Templar. Two years later he was appointed to the Queen Victoria, which Nicholas had built in England. Dr. Williams returned to Melbourne in 1852. He attended wounded men at Eureka Stockade. Leonard Joel Pty. Ltd. will conduct the auction”.
“Czar’s relic for £270.”
“A jewelled order presented to a Victorian surgeon in 1847 by Czar Nicholas I yesterday passed into the keeping of a Malvern art dealer for £ 270.
For the buyer, Mr. John A. Hogan, the value of the order lies in its historic interest. Set in diamonds, with an amethyst centrepiece, it is faced with green enamel. At the base is a double-headed eagle holding a sceptre. “If I break it up the jewels will probably bring only from £10 to £20 each,” Mr. Hogan said. I would have done that a few years ago, but now historic pieces like this find New Australian buyers. They are far keener on them than old Australians.” The inscription on the red leather case reads “Presented by His Majesty, the Emperor of All the Russians, to Dr. J. Williams. MD, surgeon on His Majesty’s yacht, Queen Victoria.” Dr Williams came to Australia in 1844. Two years later he was appointed ship’s surgeon on Czar Nicholas’ yacht. He returned to Melbourne in 1852.”
Fifty seven years later, in July 2008, the Dr D. J. Williams ring, the gift from Czar Nicholas the 1st, again went up for auction. This time it sold for a staggering $51,000.
“Provenance: The current owner acquired this piece in the late 1950s from a direct descendant of Dr D.J.Williams. David John Williams (1819-1902) Born in Glamorganshire, Wales, in 1819, he studied medicine in England and Scotland, graduating M.R.C.S. Eng., 1841; L.S.A. Lond., 1845; M.D. St Andrews, 1848; F.R.C.S. Eng., 1861. In 1844 he sailed aboard the `Templar’ as Surgeon-Superintendent arriving in Sydney in August of that year. On his return to England he served in Russia as part of the English Medical Service. He was appointed personal medical officer to Czar Nicholas I and spent the summer sailing with the Czar aboard his yacht `Queen Victoria’, and the winter serving in hospitals in St Petersburg. On leaving Russia Dr Williams was presented with the Order of St Anne by Czar Nicholas. Arriving in Melbourne aboard the `Bride’ in May 1853 Williams went first into private practice, then Government service before being posted to the Quarantine Station at Point Nepean in September 1853. Williams was transferred to Ballarat as District Surgeon, whilst there he conducted the inquest into the death of James Scobie on 7 October 1854 and, later that of Henry Powell on 9 December 1854 (who was wounded during the Eureka rebellion). As Camp Doctor Williams attended to the wounded from the Eureka rebellion. Dr Williams remained in Ballarat as coroner when the position of District Surgeon was abolished. He resigned in March 1855, visited England and on his return settled in Queenscliffe serving first as Assistant Health Officer at the Heads in 1858, then as Health Officer in 1867. Whilst in Queenscliffe he took an active part in civic and church affairs, being elected to the Council and becoming the first Mayor of the Borough of Queenscliffe in 1863. Williams died in 1902 and was buried in Queenscliffe. St George’s Church vestry erected a rear window as a memorial to Dr Williams in recognition of his long and invaluable contribution to the church. (References: `Goldrush Doctors at Ballarat’ by Keith Macrae Bowden, Mulgrave, 1977; `Great News Stories of Queenscliff’)”.