17-02-1896: St. George’s Church, Carlton, Victoria.

St George’s Church in Carlton is a bluestone building built in 1855-6 to the design of architects George and Schneider, the foundation stone of which was laid by Bishop James Alipius Goold in 1855. The Church is located on the grounds of the Corpus Christi College in Carlton and now known as the Corpus Christi Chapel.

On Sunday the 16th of February 1896[1], a memorial stained glass window depicting the Crucifixion was unveiled in the south transept of St George’s to the memory of William Ievers, M.L.A[2], who died at Macartney’s private hospital, East Melbourne[3] on the 19th of February 1895.

William Ievers (1839-1895), was the son of William Ievers Snr[4] (1818-1901) and Mary Harrison (c.1819-1898). A native of Ireland, William arrived with his parents and siblings aboard the Rienzi on the 22nd April 1855[5].

An obituary written about him in February 1895[3] significantly details his life but makes no mention of his historical involvement as the Vice President of the Carlton Football Club between 1890-1894[6].

A plaque affixed to the gate of the Corpus Christie College gate in Drumond street Carlton includes a reference to the Ievers stained glass window as being by Ferguson & Urie;

…in 1896 a memorial stained glass window to local Councillor William Ievers, designed by the prominent firm of Ferguson and Urie was installed in the south transept…”

According to the news articles of 1896, the stained glass window was actually designed by “Mr. Smyrk”, who was Herbert Moesbury Smyrk, formerly of the stained glass firm of Smyrk & Rogers (partnership dissolved in 1888). It’s highly likely that the window was only assembled or erected in the church by Ferguson & Urie for Smyrk, who was in 1896, designing windows that were being constructed by other established stained glass firms in Victoria and South Australia. Whether Smyrk actually had a hand in the glass painting for the Ievers window or whether it was performed by a member of Ferguson & Urie’s staff may never be known.

On the 12th of November 1924, St George’s church was gutted by fire[7] and the William Ievers stained glass window is not known to have survived.

Other memorials to members of the Ievers family include the William Ievers  memorial  drinking fountain[8] erected in his name by his brother George Hawkins Ievers, in Macarthur Square, Rathdowne Street, Carlton. George also erected another fountain to his father William Ievers Snr in Argyle Square Carlton[9] and his own memorial fountain is at the Corner of Gatehouse Street and Royal Parade, Parkville[10]

The Ievers family home, named after their roots in Ireland,Mount Ievers”, was located at 521 Royal Parade in Parkville but was demolished circa 1975.

The Ievers family grave and monument still exists at the Melbourne General Cemetery,Roman Catholic,, Section Q, Grave 304/305.

These photos were taken on various dates in 2012. The photo of “Mount Ievers” mansion, at 521 Royal Parade Parkville is from from the SLV and dated prior to 1975.

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The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Wednesday 20th February 1895, page 5.

DEATH OF MR. IEVERS, M.L.A.

“Though not unexpected, the announcement of the death of Councillor William Ievers, jun., M.L.A, which occurred last night at Miss Macartney’s private hospital, East Melbourne, will be received generally with feelings of deep regret. A fortnight ago an operation of a painful and serious nature was performed upon Mr. Ievers, and though at the time he appeared likely to recover, he subsequently developed symptoms which alarmed his friends and caused his medical adviser, Mr. Charles Ryan, to fear that there was little hope that he would live. On Monday evening he improved somewhat, but yesterday morning suffered a relapse, and hope was finally abandoned. At 8 o’clock at night he died, surrounded by the members of his family. The cause of his death was urenic poisoning, due to failure of the kidneys. Mr. Ievers was born in Limerick, Ireland, in 1844 [sic: 1839[11]], and came with his father (who is still living and well known in Melbourne) to Victoria in 1855. As a junior he entered the warehouse of Messrs. William Watson and Sons, and remained there until about 1880. By that time he had mounted step by step to be head of one of the departments. When he left the warehouse he joined the firm of his father and brothers, Messrs. William Ievers and Sons, auctioneers, estate, and commission agents, of Collins-street and Carlton. About the same time he was elected a member of the City Council for Smith Ward, and retained the seat up to the time of his death. He sought to enter the Assembly for the Carlton electorate, but was twice beaten. Then when the electorate was subdivided he contested the seat for Carlton South, and after one unsuccessful attempt he unseated Mr. W. H. Leonard at the 1892 election. At the last election he held the seat against the opposition of Mr. Thompson, securing a large majority of votes. In the Assembly Mr. Ievers sat in the Ministerial Corner, and since he rose but seldom to address the House, and then only on subjects with which he was thoroughly conversant, he was invariably listened to with respect. During the last session he was appointed chairman of the banking Commission, but owing to his ill-health was unable to preside at their meetings. Mr. Ievers was a representative of the Melbourne City Council on the Metropolitan Board of Works, and he was also a justice of the peace. He was un-married, and resided with his parents at Mount Ievers, Sydney-road, Parkville. He was very much respected as an honourable and an upright man. He took part in many social organisations specifically formed to promote intellectual advancement, and always evinced a keen interest in the study of the great authors. For many years he was a prominent oarsman, but his exercise on the river had a very painful ending. He was sculling up stream one day, and was run into by another sculler, the bow of whose boat struck him on the spine, and caused what were for a time serious injuries.”

The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Monday 17th February 1896, page 5.

“MEMORIAL TO THE LATE MR IEVERS, M.L.A.

SERMON BY FATHER MOORE.

A special service was rendered yesterday morning at St. George’s Church, Carlton, in memory of the late Mr. William Ievers, M.L.A., who died on February 19, 1895. A fine stained-glass window has been erected in the southern transept of the church by the members of the late Mr. Ievers’s family, and, while it harmonises well with the beautiful interior of the church, serves also as an enduring memorial of the deceased gentleman. It is a three-light window, the centre light showing the principal design, which consists of a representation of the Crucifixion. The colouring is rich but subdued, and the figures of the crucified Christ and of the mourners at the foot of the cross stand out sharp and distinct in every detail. A suggestion of the distant city of Jerusalem rising behind the hill of Calvary is a new feature introduced into the composition by the artist, Mr. Smyrk, who designed the work, which has been carried out by the well known firm of Messrs. Ferguson and Urie. There was a crowded congregation, and the special sermon was preached by the Rev. Isaac Moore, S. J….”

The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Thursday 13th November 1924, page 8.

“Fire in Old Church”.

“An old Melbourne landmark will probably disappear as the result of a fire last evening, when the St. George’s Roman Catholic Church, in Drummond street, Carlton, which was built in 1855, and was used as a boy’s schoolroom, was almost completely destroyed. The cause of the outbreak is a mystery. The school was securely locked at a quarter to 5 o’clock, and at 6 o’clock the housekeeper of the Presbytery, which adjoins the old church, saw smoke issuing from a ventilator on the roof. Five minutes later the building was a mass of flame. The head fire station at Eastern Hill was notified, and a large detachment of men was soon on the spot. The firemen were greatly hampered in their work by the intense heat, for, although the outer walls of the church are constructed of bluestone blocks, it was lined with wood, and the roof was stayed with old wooden rafters, which burned fiercely. Many children were playing in the grounds at the time, and some were endangered by the flying sparks. Several hoses were played on the heart of the fire, which was at the eastern end of the building, but it was some time before the firemen were able to get close enough to break down the doors and enter. When they could do so they concentrated a stream of water on to the blazing rafters, and the outbreak was soon subdued. The building contained desks, black boards, and the usual furnishings of a school room, most of which were destroyed. The inner walls were severely damaged, and gaping holes were left in the roof. The building and contents were insured with the Catholic Church Insurance Co., for £1,500, but it is not thought that this amount will cover the damage. The chief fire officer (Mr. Harris B. Lee), who was early on the scene, said that it was extraordinary that although hundreds of people must have seen the flames, nobody gave the alarm until the fire was noticed by the housekeeper. The building, which was constructed as a schoolroom in 1897, accommodated 220 pupils”.

External links:

Biography: William Ievers Snr (1818-1901)

An interesting history of William Ievers Snr (1818-1901), is detailed in a book he wrote in 1894 titled  “Fifty Years After; or, Old Scenes Revisited.” Extracts were republished in The Old Limerick Journal under the titles of,  William Ievers: Old Scenes Revisited and A visit to Paris 1890. His son William Ievers Jnr (1839-1895), referred to as “Willie”, accompanied his father on the journey back to Ireland in 1890 and the book was a result of William Snr’s journals.

Footnotes:

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