04-10-1869: St Matthew’s Uniting Church, Scallan Street, Stawell, Victoria.

Illustrated Australian News for Home Readers, Melbourne, Monday 4th October 1869, page 195.

 “THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, PLEASANT CREEK.”

 “Another instance of our architectural progress is presented in the new Presbyterian Church which was opened at Pleasant Creek in May last […]”

 “[…] The building is lighted by a double row of windows containing diamond lights, with variously colored borders; of these there are fourteen on either side, in addition to one beautifully stained window, inserted in the apse immediately behind the minister’s platform, which is placed in a recess, at the extreme end of the edifice […]”

The church was designed by Architect R.A. Love formerly of Sandhurst (Ballarat). The foundation stone was laid on the 21st of May 1868 and then officially opened in 1869. The apse window, created by Ferguson & Urie, cost £120.

The nave of St. Matthew’s also contains another Ferguson and Urie single light window which is a memorial to the infant Florence Grant with the subject being the “Suffer little children”.

Florence was the two year old daughter of Edmund Craigie Grant and Elizabeth Ann Parkinson. She was born at Pleasant Creek (Stawell) in 1867 and died at the age of 2 years and sixteen days on the 2nd of October 1869.

The Argus, Melbourne, Friday 8th October 1869, page 4.
GRANT.-On the 2nd inst., at the Quartz Reefs, Pleasant Creek, of inflammation of the lungs, Florence, infant daughter of Edmund and Elizabeth Grant, aged two years and 16 days.

The Florence Grant window was one of the first stained glass windows to be erected in the nave of the church and has the following text:
“Suffer Little Children to Come Unto Me”
“SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF FLORENCE GRANT”

The entry in the St Matthews church  booklet about this window has (as at 2010) incorrectly recorded Florence as the wife of Edward Grant instead as being his  infant daughter.

Her father, Edmund Craigie Grant, was a wealthy gold miner who formed the firm of Grant, Lamont & Co in 1856 and was the first to erect a Chilean Mill quartz crushing machinery at Concongella Creek in 1857. He also had built their now heritage listed home “Alvie” in 1868 and was also generous patron of St Matthews Church in Stawell to which he donated the funds for the Spire and the organ.  He is also remembered by a marble memorial plaque in the church.

Florence’s’ younger brother William was born the year after she died. William is better known as Brigadier-General William Grant who led the famous charge of the 4th Light Horse Brigade at Beersheba in World War I.

As personally seen on the 11th of June 2011, the Ferguson & Urie apse window can only be partially viewed as an organ has been installed directly in front of it and a brick wall has been erected behind it which has completely obscured any outside light whatsoever. It would have been much more palatable if the church had considered donating the historical window to a state museum rather than bricking it in and obscuring completely.  The current property manager understands the historical significance of the apse window and has made his own attempts to try and install flood lights behind the window in the brick cavity but as a noble attempt this is, it’s essentially fruitless unless the entire organ gallery is removed from in front of the window.

The clerestory windows with simple colored borders all look to be original by Ferguson & Urie.

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