The opening of St Peter’s Church at Merino was supposed to occur on Sunday the 8th of December 1867 but was postponed due to unforseen circumstances. The service was re-scheduled for Sunday the 22nd  just before Christmas and the Rev. Dr. Russell officiated. No mention was made of any stained glass window in any articles found to date but the three light east window facing the township was made by Ferguson & Urie of North Melbourne sometime after the Rev Russell’s death in 1876. St Peter’s is no longer a consecrated church and as at 2011 was undergoing renovation and conversion to a private house.
The triple light window faces the township and the centre light has figurative and geometric designs of stained glass which is flanked by two shorter lancets of plain diamond quarries and red and yellow stained glass borders.
At the top of the central window is the holy spirit depicted by the Dove. Below that is Christ carrying the lamp in the well known depiction of Holman Hunt’s “Light of the world”. Further down is Christ depicted as the “Good Shepherd” carrying a Lamb and the Crook and surrounded by a flock of sheep. Geometric quatrefoil designs separate each figurative picture and the very bottom of the window bears gold text on a black background with the memorial text:
“AFFECTIONATE REMEMBRANCE OF THE REV F. T. CUSACK RUSSELL D.C.L WHO DIED AT SEA FEB 7th 1876 AGED 53 YEARS”
The nave of St Peter’s also has a number of other single lancet windows by Ferguson & Urie of plain diamond quarries and coloured borders. Unfortunately all the windows are in extremely poor condition and are in desperate need of restoration.
Photos taken 9th January 2011.
“… St PETER’S CHURCH – The opening of this church on the Sunday before Christmas, will form a memorable ere in the history of our town. On this occasion we had influential visitors from all the surrounding towns of Casterton, Coleraine and Digby. The concourse of carriages was immense. At 11 a.m., the hour for divine service, the interior of he church was crowded many unable to find seats. F. Henty, Esq., Merino Downs furnished a harmonium for the occasion, and this in connexion with the singing added considerably to the impressiveness of the services. The Rev. Dr. Russell preached from the text:- “Except the Lord build the house, &c.,” an excellent sermon after which a collection amounting to £24 was made in aide of the building fund.”
Biography: Francis Thomas Cusack Russell (1823-1876)
Parsonage on the Wannon: Rev. Dr. Francis Thomas Cusack RUSSELL 1823-1876
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