1869: Christ the King Anglican Cathedral, Ballarat, Victoria.

The Chancel of the Ballarat Anglican Cathedral contains an historic three light stained glass window created by the Ferguson & Urie stained glass company of North Melbourne. The window depicts the Nativity, Crucifixion and Resurrection and was erected in the later half of October 1869.

Photos taken between: 19th Sept 2010 and 28th Sept 2013.

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Construction of the first Anglican Church in Ballarat, known as Christ Church, commenced in 1854 in Lydiard Street, a year before Ballarat was proclaimed a Municipality and in the same year as the infamous Eureka Rebellion. The first stage of the church was completed by contractors Backhouse[1] and Reynolds in 1857 at a cost of more than £2000.[2]

By 1867 the congregation had outgrown the church and the plans were to enlarge it by the addition of transepts. On the 20th August 1867 the building committee of Christ Church accepted the tender of Mr Jonathon Coulson for the construction of the north and south transepts for £1655 to the plans prepared by architect Edward James.[3] The construction of these extensions began a month later.[4]

As part of the extensions and the beautification of the church was the idea of placing a locally made stained glass window in the chancel and on the 19th October 1867 it was reported;

We are informed that the stained window for the chancel at Christ Church is to be the gift of Mr. E. A. Wynne[5]. Messrs Urie and Ferguson, of Melbourne, will most likely supply the glass. The subject for the window has not yet, however, been determined on.”[6]

Edward Agar Wynne (1823-1898).

Edward Agar Wynne, was a mining pioneer in the Ballarat region. He was Chairman of Directors of the Scottish and Cornish Gold Mining Company[7], a founder and director of the Ballarat Gas Company (established in 1858), and one of the first shareholders in the Black Hill mine, of which he still held 1200 shares in at the time of his death[8]. He took a leading role in the laying out of Ballarat’s botanic gardens as well as being a member of the Acclimatisation Society[9].

He married Sarah Maria Palmer in London in c.1849 and migrated to Australia with his family c.1851-54.

In the mid 1870’s he had decided to leave Ballarat and move to the Melbourne suburb of Balaclava and his substantial home on the shores of Lake Wendouree was subsequently purchased by the ‘Loreto Sisters’ for use as part of their newly formed Convent in 1875[10].

His wife Sarah died on the 15th February 1882 at their home ‘View Hill,’ Balaclava[11], and in 1884, at the age of 60, he married 26 year old Rebecca Israel Samuel[12].

Edward died at his home ‘Montacute,’ Grey Street St Kilda, on the 9th December 1898 aged 75[13]. He was buried at the St Kilda Cemetery with his first wife Sarah and two of their children[14]. One of his sons from his first marriage, Agar Wynne (1850-1934), became a prominent Victorian politician.

Edward would not end up being the benefactor of the window and the enthusiasm for its creation lost momentum. It would be a further two years before the window would actually be created and more than a year after the 1867-68 extensions of Christ Church were completed.

By April 1868 the extensions to Christ Church were nearing completion and the local tabloid, ‘The Ballarat Star’ reported;

“The alterations at Christ Church are now nearly finished. Both transepts have been erected, and the northern one has been occupied already. The south one requires some completing touches, and the chancel is also unfinished, the window not yet being glazed. We believe the organ is to be erected in the southern transept. It seems a pity the chancel could not have been deepened and widened, so as to have made it serve as for a cathedral choir, and thus have provided room there for the singers, instead of taking space for the choir out of the too small area of the church, even with its transepts added.” [15]

The 6th of May 1868 heralded the re-opening of Christ Church and a series of celebrations were organised for the dedication of the new transepts and chancel. The services were conducted by Archdeacon Stretch[16] at the morning services and the Rev Handfield [17] at the afternoon services. The decorations in the church at this point indicated that the chancel window was still in an un-glazed state.

“The opening of Christ Church is to be celebrated this day, as the first of a series of days appropriated to the solemnities in question. Our advertising columns contain particulars as to the services, from which it will be seen that the venerable Archdeacon Stretch will officiate at the dedication of the transepts and chancel this morning, and that the Rev. H. H. P. Handfield will officiate in the afternoon. Full choral services will be sung on both occasions, and we may state apropos to this matter, that, the organ has been re-erected, and is now located in the southern transept. The church has been decorated with evergreens, wreaths depending about the transept arches and the chancel, and boughs screening the unglazed chancel window.”[18]

It wasn’t until November 1869 that the creation of a stained glass window for the chancel came to fruition, but where it had been reported earlier in 1867 that the donor of the window was to be Edward Agar Wynne, it was now reported that the benefactor was William Henry Barnard, who had made the gift of the window at a cost in the vicinity of £200.

On the 30th of October 1869 ‘The Ballarat Star’, gave an in-depth description of the window. Where it had been intimated earlier in 1867 that the Ferguson & Urie stained glass company were likely to supply the window, it was eventually created by them and depicts the Nativity, Crucifixion and Resurrection;

“A very beautiful stained glass window has this week been erected in the east or chancel end of Christ Church. Mr. W. H. Barnard has made a gift of the window to the church, and the munificent donation is a rich and very appropriate adornment of the sacred edifice. The design includes the three leading events in our Lord’s life, the middle compartment figuring the crucifixion, the two sides the nativity and resurrection respectively, each grouping, and especially that of the nativity, displaying fair accuracy in drawing, and a glorious wealth of colour. At the bottom is a half length figure of Christ giving thanks, and at the top is a dove, the symbol of the Holy Spirit. The subsidiary details, such as borderings, geometrical figures, and florials are in excellent keeping. Messrs Urie and Ferguson, of Melbourne, supplied and erected the window at a cost of some £200, and we have heard an opinion freely expressed, that though there may be larger there are no better windows than this one anywhere in the colony.”[19]

A week later it was further reported;

“A very beautiful stained glass window has been erected in the east or chancel end of Christ Church, Ballarat. Mr W. H. Barnard has made a gift of the window to the church, and the munificent donation is a rich and very appropriate adornment of the sacred edifice. Messrs Urie and Ferguson, of Melbourne, supplied and erected the window at a cost of some £200.”[20]

William Henry Barnard (1830-1900)

The donor of the stained glass window, William Henry Barnard, was born in Surrey, England 1830, the son of John Barnard and Harriet Burrows.

On the 4th February 1859 he married Caroline Lawrence at St John’s Church in Launceston, at which time he was employed by the colonial treasury as the Receiver and Paymaster at Portland in Western Victoria[21].

In February 1865 he was appointed receiver and paymaster, land officer, and gold receiver at Ballarat[22]. His wife Caroline died only a few weeks later aged 28 on the 25th February 1865[23].

On the 23rd April 1867, at Christ Church at Ballarat, he married Bessie Lynn, sixth daughter of local solicitor Adam Loftus Lynn[24]. Bessie died on the 3rd of September 1881 aged 36 at Ballarat giving birth to a daughter, the new born did not survive either[25].

He married a third time to Ellen Barnard, his first cousin and fifth daughter of his uncle George William Barnard of Landfall, Tasmania. They married at  St Peter’s Church in Sturt Street Ballarat on the 29th August 1883.

On the 28th May 1886, at St Paul’s Church Melbourne, he married a fourth time, to Flora who was again a first cousin and younger sister of his third wife Ellen [26].

Barnard resigned from the Government Treasury positions in 1878 to become Secretary-treasurer of the Ballarat Cemetery Trust and he retained that position until his death in 1900. He was also registrar of the Ballarat School of Mines[27].

He died on the 12th January 1900 at his Errard-street home at Ballarat West aged 70 and was buried in the Ballarat old cemetery[28].

An original engraving depicting the chancel of Christ Church, circa 1874, shows the three light chancel window, and in the engraving are painted the words around the chancel arch:


Text surrounding the arch around the top of the Ferguson & Urie stained glass window reads:


(From the Book of Common Prayer).

None of this original text around the arches exists anymore.

By 1886 the idea of erecting an Anglican Cathedral in Ballarat had gained momentum with the Rev Samuel Thornton[29] (the first Bishop of Ballarat) as lead instigator. On the 18th March 1886 it was resolved to erect a Cathedral to the rear of the site of the current church;

“At a meeting of the Church of England Assembly in Ballarat on Thursday, it was resolved to build a cathedral on the church site in Lydiard-street. A resolution was also carried that the building should be of stone, and the cost was limited to £35,000, exclusive of the tower and spire.”[30]

“The Right Rev. Dr. Thornton has for some time been actively promoting the erection of a cathedral in the chief town of his diocese. At the suggestion of the bishop, the vestry of Christ Church consented to unite cordially with the diocese in the erection of a cathedral upon the site of their present parish church in Lydiard-street…”[31]

The laying of the foundation stone of the new cathedral was performed on St Andrews day[32] by the Governor of Victoria, Sir Henry Brougham Loch[33]. Sir Henry and Lady Lock arrived by special train at Ballarat on Thursday 29th of November[34] and the following day, St Andrew’s Day, he laid the foundation stone of the new cathedral in the presence of the Bishops of Sydney, Melbourne, Bathurst and the Riverina[35] and a large assembly of the Ballarat Anglicans. Contributions exceeding £540 were placed on the foundation stone on the day[36].

The plan for the cathedral was that its construction would begin on the lower east side of the current church and the current church would then eventually form one of the transepts of the cathedral when completed.

By April 1890 construction of the cathedral had stalled. Unforeseen circumstances occurred with the foundations at the eastern end because of the steep slope and the lack of funds to rectify it had halted further work. In Bishop Thornton’s address to the Annual Church Assembly at the Ballarat City Hall on the 6th May 1890 he outlined his concerns and the expenditure to-date[37]

Sadly, nothing further transpired. The desire for an Anglican Cathedral in Ballarat did not gain the support it required and in 1931, forty years later, the Melbourne ‘Argus’ reported;

“…The ambition of Bishop Thornton was to see the Ballarat cathedral completed. The foundation-stone was laid by Sir Henry – afterwards Lord – Loch, when he was Governor of Victoria. It has not yet been finished, but cathedrals grow with the centuries rather than with the years. Some day it will be completed and an enthusiastic vicar may address his mind to the task of writing its history. In that history should be reserved and honoured place for the name of Dr. Thornton. He died in Lancashire, still in the service of his Church…”[38]

The cathedral would never be completed. Bishop Thornton died in England in 1917 and all that exists to recognise his efforts is a memorial brass tablet erected in the liturgical south west corner of the church which reads;


It is now more than 125 years since the then Governor Sir Henry Lock laid the foundation stone for the cathedral and evidence still remains of it to this day at the rear of the original bluestone church in Lydiard Street.

The lower basement of the cathedral which had been constructed before works were halted was known as the ‘Chapter House’ and was used as the Diocesan office for many years and later sold to private enterprise circa 1980’s. It was later used as a night club and is now a private residence.

The original church building facing Lydiard Street became the Anglican Cathedral of Ballarat and carries the title of the Church of ‘Christ the King’.

The historic Ferguson & Urie stained glass window still exists in the chancel of the church in the exact same position it was erected in 1869.

As at 2016 the cathedral and associated buildings have been advertised for sale by the Anglican authorities.


[5] Edward Agar Wynne (1823-1898).

[8] Edgar Agar Wynne, Vic Probate record 75/159, dated 17th May 1900.

[12] Vic BDM: 284/1884.

[14] St Kilda Cemetery, CofE, Compartment A-327.

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