13-07-1885: St David’s Mission Chapel, Campbell Street, Hobart, Tasmania.

In July 1885 the Ferguson & Urie stained glass company of North Melbourne created a stained glass window for the St David’s Mission Chapel in Hobart, Tasmania. It was erected in the chapel in late October the same year.

The ‘rose’ or ‘wheel’ shaped window is still extant in the original building in Campbell-street Hobart. The window was donated by a “Miss Parson’s” and comprises three trefoil shaped windows with the upper trefoil containing a Hexagram symbol representing the Star of David. The lower left trefoil contains the descending Dove and the lower right trefoil contains the Paschal Lamb carrying the St George Banner. Three curved triangular shaped windows appear on the outer edge between the trefoils to give the whole arrangement the appearance of a large round window. Each of the three triangular pieces contains the face of an angel with wings. The perimeter of each individual piece has the typical Ferguson & Urie stained glass border design of alternate red, blue and yellow separated by a small flower design.

Photos of stained glass courtesy of Ms Danielle Pacaud, 8th March 2012.

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The foundation stone of St. David’s Mission chapel was laid on the 24th of November 1884 by the Bishop of Tasmania, Rev. Dr. Daniel Fox Sandford. The site chosen for the building was in the poorer working class district of Hobart in Lower Campbell-street, an area originally known as ‘Wapping.’[1]

Before laying the foundation stone of St. David’s, Bishop Sandford placed the usual casket or time capsule beneath the stone which contained the following items:

“…coins of the realm, from a farthing upwards, a twopenny stamp, copies of newspapers of that day’s date, and a document bearing the following inscription:- “St. David’s Mission Chapel, Lower Campbell-street. This stone was laid by the Right Reverend Daniel Fox Sandford, D. D., Bishop of Tasmania, on the 24th November, a.d., 1884. His Excellency Major Sir George Cumine Strahan, R. A., K.C.M.G., being Governor of Tasmania, the Ven. Archdeacon Davenport, B.A., Archdeacon of Hobart; Ven. Francis Hales, B.A., Archdeacon of Launceston; the Rev. H. C. Hancock, acting incumbent of St. David’s; Messrs. E. H. Butler, B. Travers Solly, J. G. Steele, churchwardens of St. David’s parish; H. Hunter, architect; Joseph Sharpe, Arthur Harrison, Adolphus Inches, contractors. The chapel has been erected by voluntary subscriptions to supply a want long felt in this portion of the parish of St. David’s.”[2]

The chapel was designed by architect Henry Hunter  and was underestimated to cost of £1,500. It was constructed by contractors Sharpe, Harrison, and Inches and opened by Bishop Sandford on the 12th of July 1885. At the opening ceremony a detailed account of the building and furnishings was published, amongst which was a description of the windows:

“…Above the altar in the eastern elevation is a “rose” window. It is to be filled in with stained glass by Miss Parson’s, Brown’s River, and when completed will have a pretty and effective appearance. The stained glass for the window is being prepared by Messrs. Ferguson and Ure [sic], Sydney [sic], and its arrival is shortly expected. There are six windows along one side of the church, and five on the other, while in the western end there is one on each side of the entrance. They are all filled in with ribbed glass, and the building is thus well-lighted…” [3]

Three months later the stained glass windows arrived from Melbourne and on the 15th of October 1885, the Rev Henry Charles Hancock, acting as chairman, reported to the committee:

“…The chairman stated the Mission Church was all finished, with the exception of putting in the stained glass windows, which had arrived, and would be in by the end of next week…” [4]

The St David’s Mission Chapel is no longer a consecrated church and its most recent commercial use from 2008 was the home of the “Detached” Art Gallery.

 “… Built in the Victorian Free Gothic style at the end of the nineteenth century, the former church lends itself to the creation of an artistic space. The high gothic roof trusses with the original dark timber purlins and rafters provide a dramatic contrast to the open space that appears below. Heritage Advisor with Heritage Tasmania, Danielle Pacaud, said the combination of clever design and retention of the features of the original church was impressive. “The space provides an ingenious arrangement of movable walls giving the flexibility the gallery needs, while protecting its heritage fabric,” Ms Pacaud said. An original stained glass window in vibrant blue, yellow, red and green at the rear of the building is highlighted against the white walls of the gallery. The window was the subject of a condition placed by the Heritage Council in the conversion of this church, which owner, Penny Clive, was more than happy to comply with…” [5]



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