The foundation stone of St Luke’s Church of England was laid by Sir Henry Barkly on the 9th of March 1857 at South Melbourne (at which time it was known as Emerald Hill). The land the church now resides on was reserved in the original township plan back in 1852. The church was designed by Francis White and had a frontage to Clarendon Street before the church later sold it for retail development in the 1900’s which changed their address to the Dorcas street frontage. Architect Charles Webb added Transepts to the church in 1862 and it is the North Transept that has the Ferguson & Urie stained glass window.
The window depicts “Jesus in the House of Martha and Mary” and was installed in March 1883 to the memory of Mary Skeats (1817-1879) and has the memorial inscription “In Loving Memory of Mary the beloved wife of Charles Skeats, July 24th 1879.”
Photos taken 13th May 2012.
“…A very fine memorial window has also been placed in the church by Messrs. Ferguson and Urie in their most expensive style, to the order of Mr. Charles Skeats, in memory of his wife, Mary. The subject he has, therefore, very appropriately chosen, is Christ with Mary and Martha – “Mary hath chosen that good part,” &c. It is placed over the seat where Mrs. Mary Skeats used to sit in the church.”
“Great improvements have been recently effected in St. Luke’s Church, Emerald-hill. The temporary arrangements of the east end of the church have been entirely altered, the choir seats, pulpit, and Communion table have all been rearranged, and a carpet and cedar reredos, with Gothic paneling, provided. A memorial window of stained glass has been also placed in the north transept by Mr Charles Skeats, in memory of his wife Mary Skeats, who used to sit in that part of the church. The subject is. “Mary hath chosen that good part,” &c.”
SKEATS – On the 24th inst., at No. 10 Romsey-terrace, St Vincent place, Emerald hill, Mary, the beloved wife of Charles Skeats, Esq., aged 61 years. Deeply regretted.
“THE Friends of CHARLES SKEATS, Esq., are respectfully invited to follow the remains of his beloved wife to the place of interment, the Melbourne General Cemetery.
The funeral is appointed to leave his residence, No 10 Romsey-terrace, St Vincent place south, Emerald-hill, on Saturday, the 26th inst., at two o’clock. THOMAS RENTLE, undertaker, 77 Napier-street, Emerald-hill”.
The Mary Skeats gravestone is located at the Melbourne General Cemetery, CofE, section W-189, but it has unfortunately fallen over sometime in the past century. Some of the text is still readable via digital images from beneath.
09/03/1857: The Laying of the Foundation Stone of St Luke’s