1888: Presbyterian Church, Toorak, Victoria.

In the liturgical south transept of the Toorak Presbyterian Church (Uniting) at Toorak is a two-light Ferguson & Urie stained glass window erected to the memory of Mary Buist Bayles (1856-1888).

Photos taken 21st August 2010.
(Unfortunately these are poor quality with an early Pentax Optio S10 pocket camera).

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In the tracery above the two lights is a round window with five lobes (a cinqfoil or pentafoil). The centre of the window depicts the descending dove with the outer ring and scrolls within, containing the scriptural words;


The outer five lobes of the window contain floral designs with a dotted white border and the two lights below contain biblical scenes with scriptural text below:


The scene in this left light is Jesus meeting the grieving Martha who was the sister of Lazarus. He tells Martha that he is the resurrection and the life and that she should have faith that he will bring Lazarus back to life.


The right light depicts the “Anointing at Bethany” where Jesus is seen reclining at the table of Simon the Leper and Mary of Bethany is anointing him with expensive perfume from an alabaster jar and then wiping his feet with her long hair.

Across the base of the windows is the memorial text to Mary Bayles;


Mary Buist Bayles (1856-1888).

Mary Buist Bayles was the eldest daughter of William Bayles (1820-1903)[1] and Isabel née Buist (1830-1917)[2].

Her father William had arrived in Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) c.1846 and married Isabel Buist at Pituncarty, Maquarie River, on the 11th July 1854[3]. The family later moved to Melbourne where Mary was born at Regent Street, Carlton Gardens, on the 29th December 1855[4].

In 1861 her father entered public life and held many prominent council and political positions including that of Mayor of Melbourne in 1865-66, alderman in 1869 and acting Mayor in 1900[5].

Mary Buist Bayles never married and died aged 33 at her parent’s home, Yar Orrong, Toorak, on the 24th November 1888[6] and was buried in the Bayles family plot at the St Kilda cemetery[7].

The stained glass window was erected in her memory in the Toorak Presbyterian (now Uniting) church, the same church that her father had laid the foundation stone of on the 24th May 1875[8].

The window underwent restoration and conservation work in 2001 by the studio of Geoffrey Wallace at Caulfield.


Significant tabloid transcriptions:

The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Friday 21st July 1854, page 4.

“On the 11th inst., at Pituncarty, Maquarie River, Van Diemen’s land, by the Rev. Dr. Lillie, William Bayles,  Esq., merchant of this city, to Miss Isabel, youngest daughter of Mrs. Buist.”

The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Wednesday 2nd January 1856, page 4.

“On Saturday, the 29th ult., Regent-street, Carlton gardens, Mrs. William Bayles, of a daughter.”

The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Tuesday 25th May 1875, page 7.


The ceremony of laying the memorial stone of a new Presbyterian church, on the Toorak road, took place yesterday morning in the presence of about 100 persons…”

 “…Mr. T. BAILEY, on behalf of the subscribers, presented Mr. W. Bayles, M.L.A., with a silver trowel, and the stone having been lowered, Mr. Bayles declared it to have been well and truly laid…”

The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Monday 26th November 1888, page 1.

“BAYLES.- On the 24th inst, at Yar Orrong, Toorak, Mary Buist, eldest daughter of William and Isabel Bayles.”

 The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, 26th November 1888, page 1.

 “THE Friends of Mr. WILLIAM BAYLES are informed that the remains of his late daughter, Miss Mary Buist, will be interred in the St. Kilda Cemetery. The funeral is appointed to move from his residence, Yar Orrong, Toorak, THIS DAY (Monday, 26th inst.), at 2 o’clock. ALF. AUG. SLEIGHT, undertaker.”

The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Friday 9th October 1903, page 6.


 “The death of alderman Bayles, at the age of 83 years, which took place at his residence, Albany-road, Toorak, yesterday, removes a well-known figure in the commercial, political, and civic life of Melbourne during the last half-century, and a member of the community whose probity and business capacity and excellent qualities of mind and heart won the esteem of all whom he came in contact. He was born in Yorkshire on November 1, 1820, and emigrated to Tasmania in 1846. Crossing to Melbourne in 1852, he commenced business as merchant and ship-owner, first in partnership with Mr. Headlam, under the style of Headlam, Bayles, and Co., and subsequently with Mr. W. H. Melville, under the style of Bayles and Co. He relinquished this business in 1865, on taking up pastoral pursuits on large properties he acquired in the Western district of the state. He was “father of the City Council,” having been elected for Lonsdale Ward on November 4, 1861. A public-spirited man, and given to hospitality, Mr. Bayles elected Mayor for the term 1865-1866, and on July 19, 1869, he was appointed alderman for Gipps Ward. Shortly after his election to the council he was appointed a member of the finance committee, a position he held until his death. As a matter of fact, he presided at the committee meeting on September 10. As chairman of the committee, it is frankly acknowledged, his skilful and careful supervision of the city finances largely conduced to the gratifying financial position of the council on the money market. Mr. Bayles entered active political life in 1864 as a member of the Legislative Assembly for Villiers and Heytsbury, a constituency he subsequently successfully contested on eight successive occasions. He was a staunch member of the constitutional party, and became Commissioner of Trade and Customs in the Sladen Ministry, when held office from May 6 to July 11, 1868. Among the public companies with which Mr. Bayles was identified he was one of the largest shareholders in the old Launceston and Melbourne Steam Navigation Company, and in recent years he was a member of the directorate of the Union Trustees Company. He was a leading member of the Toorak Presbyterian Church, and a generous supporter of its ordinances and work. He also held office for many years on the kirk session and board of management. Mr. Bayles married Miss Buist, a sister of Mrs. James Gibson, of Belle Vue, Tasmania, who survives her husband, and he leaves a family of two daughters and three sons. Alderman Bayles retained comparatively good health until a few months ago, and his death was due to extreme age.”

Related post: 05-03-1882: Presbyterian (Uniting) Church, 603 Toorak Rd. Toorak, Victoria. (The Ormond window by Ferguson & Urie).

External links: Biography: William Bayles (1820-1903).



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