1894: St Mary’s Anglican Church, Balmoral, Victoria.

After 1894, finding extant stained-glass windows created by the historic stained-glass firm Ferguson & Urie of North Melbourne is rare. A mention of one of their windows at St Mary’s Anglican Church in the tiny township of Balmoral is a significant bonus for my research of the company.

Balmoral is a tiny town 73km northeast of Casterton and 80km South of Horsham in Western Victoria. It was settled in the early 1850s and today its population is under 300.

Caroline Armytage[1], the wife of Charles Henry Armytage laid the foundation stone of St Mary’s Anglican Church at Balmoral on the 27th of September 1894 [2] and the Bishop of Ballarat officially opened it on the 24th of January 1895. An account of the church furnishings and fittings was chronicled in detail but there was only a brief mention of the stained-glass window in the chancel;

“… a chancel in early English style, with handsome triple east window (presented by the Armytage family in memory of the late C. Armytage, Esq., of Fulham), by Ferguson and Urie…” [3]

There was no indication of what the window depicted so that just left me a mystery and enough curiosity to undertake a 260-kilometer trip to see if it still existed and if so, what was in it?

The date of the tabloid article indicates the window was likely made in late 1894. The Ferguson & Urie company closed in late December 1899, so finding extant examples of their stained glass in this period their final decade is rare.

At the time the Balmoral window was made, the original founders of the company had died. James Urie, in 1890 and James Ferguson, in 1894. The company was then in the hands of their sons, James Ferguson Jnr and William Urie. Neither founders nor their sons were stained-glass artists in the company, so at this late stage in the company’s history, identifying which of the firm’s remaining stained-glass artists who may have had a hand in the design and painting of the windows becomes vague.

We visited Balmoral in August 2017 to see the window at St Mary’s. The three-light window is the only stained glass in the church, others are generic lead-light.

The window depicts St Peter, Christ, and St Andrew from left to right. There is no doubt it was a Ferguson & Urie window, but the figurative depictions of St Peter, Christ, and St Andrew were very different.  

The company’s early figurative style is easily recognisable in the period of their first two stained-glass artists with the company, John Lamb Lyon [4] (from 1861 to 1873), and David Relph Drape [5] (from 1863 until his death 1882). Windows made after Drape’s death in 1882 leave some mystery as to who the artists may have been.

Dr. Bronwyn Hughes OAM proposed that the Balmoral window could be the work of stained glass artist Herbert Moesbury Smyrk [6].

Whilst many parts of the window are typical of Ferguson & Urie’s company style, the figurative work in the faces of St Peter, Christ, and St Andrew are quite different. Smyrk’s painting style is very delicate and he was quite prolific at using the traditional silver stain to create varying shades from light yellow to deep gold. Some parts of his figurative images let through a lot of light which wasn’t prevalent in early Ferguson & Urie windows created in the Lyon and Drape era. A further study of my photo collection of stained glass windows in this same period has now revealed more of Smyrk’s style under the guise of Ferguson & Urie, and many other windows created during his time with Ferguson & Urie are now attributed to him. 

Positive evidence of Smyrk’s association with Ferguson & Urie is revealed in February 1896 when a memorial stained-glass window, dedicated to Councillor William Ievers MLA, was erected in St George’s church (now part of Corpus Christie) at Carlton. The window was executed by Ferguson & Urie and Smyrk was named as the designer [7]. The church was gutted by fire in 1924 and none of the original windows survived [8]

An obscure article in May 1896 provides further evidence of Smyrk’s connection to Ferguson & Urie when he writes to the editor of The Herald about the rules of Cricket. He signs off as; “H. Smyrk. 100 Franklin Street, 2nd May”. That address was the Ferguson & Urie Franklin Street Warehouse which they occupied in mid-1891.[9]

The window at St Mary’s, Balmoral has no memorial inscription on it but a nearby brass plaque records that it is dedicated to Charles Henry Armytage:

“In Loving Memory of Charles Henry Armytage, Died 26th April 1876”.

The Armytage family name is probably more well known to Melburnians for their period of ownership of the heritage-listed “Como House” in South Yarra where Charles died in 1876 [10]. It’s likely that his wife Caroline would have been the instigator for the erection of the stained-glass window at St Mary’s at Balmoral. It was also the first church to be built in the district.

Charles’ estate of £120,000 was left to his wife Caroline[11] with other complex divisions and trusts for his children. As was usual of the time, his will included archaic conditions that if Caroline remarried, her future husband could have no control of any of her estate, and nor would Caroline be liable for any future husband’s debts.

Image gallery:

Stained Glass Artists – Herbert Moesbury Smyrk 1861-1947:

Smyrk, seems to have passed through nearly every major Stained glass company in Australia between 1884 and 1947. His prolific association with so many companies makes attribution to his work very difficult.

Smyrk was born in Guildford, Surrey, England. At the age of fourteen was selected from hundreds of art students to be apprenticed to Powell and Shellard[12] as a stained glass artist and designer. [13]

On completion of his apprenticeship circa 1881, Smyrk stowed away on the ship “Queen” at St Catherine’s docks in London which was bound for America. There he began designing and painting windows for firms in New York and San Francisco. In 1884 he came out to Australia where he joined Brooks, Robinson & Co., in Melbourne.[14]

By March 1886 he was a partner of the Smyrk & Rogers stained glass company in Melbourne with Charles Rogers. That partnership was dissolved in September 1888 [15] and he returned to London to work with William Morris & Co.[16]

In later years, between many trips back to England, America, and some years living a nomadic life in Tahiti, he returned to Australia where he designed and painted for Australian firms such as Ferguson & Urie in North Melbourne, E. F. Troy in Adelaide, Barnett Bros in Perth, R. S. Exton in Brisbane, James Sandy & Co in Sydney, and Frank G. O’Brien Ltd., at Waterloo in Sydney.

Herbert Moesbury Smyrk died at Woollahra, Sydney, in 1947 at the age of 85.

I have a more extensive biography of Herbert Moesbury Smyrk in progress.

Acknowledgements:

My thanks to Helen Curkpatrick, the human history dynamo from the Wimmera National Trust, Ross & Pam from Longerenong, Denize Raggatt from the Balmoral Historical Society, Bronwyn & David Hughes for joining me on the Hamilton & Balmoral trip, and ABC Radio Horsham.

Footnotes:


[1] Caroline Morrell (nee Tuckwell), whom he married in 1856.

[2] Hamilton Spectator, Vic, Saturday 22nd September 1894, page 3.

[3] Hamilton Spectator, Vic, Saturday 26th January 1895, page 3.

[4] Biography: John Lamb Lyon (1835-1916)

[5] Biography: David Relph Drape (1821-1882)

[6] News, Adelaide, SA, Tuesday 3rd November 1925, page 8.

[7] Advocate, Melbourne, Vic, Saturday 15th February 1896, page 16.

[8] St. George’s Church, Carlton, Victoria 1896

[9] The Herald, Melbourne, Vic, Monday 4th May 1896, page 3.

[10] The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Thursday 27th April 1876, page 1.

[11] Biography: Charles Henry Armytage (1824-1876)

[12] I believe this to be incorrect. The name of “Shellard & Powell” doesn’t exist.

[13] The Catholic Press, Sydney, NSW, Thursday 28th February 1935, page 24.

[14] News, Adelaide, SA, Tuesday 3rd November 1925, page 8.

[15] The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Friday 21st September 1888, page 5.

[16] Building & Real Estate, Vol 15, No 86. 12th October 1914, page 3.


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1839-1913 The famous Melbourne caterer Charles Doyl Straker

On three occasions from 1886 to 1888 the Ferguson & Urie stained glass company held a dinner for their employees at the Mechanics Institute at the North Melbourne Town hall.

At each of the dinners a reporter from the North Melbourne Advertiser was an invited guest and chronicled the events. Each one was published in the newspaper and represents a magnificent historic record of the occasions. From my perspective they certainly provided a lot of significant clues which have helped with further research about the company and its employees.

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At the first two dinners in 1886 and 1887, and possibly the third in 1888, the catering was conducted by a fellow referred to as “Mr. C. D. Straker”.

Investigation reveals that he was a well known Colonial Melbourne identity as a publican and caterer who provided the food and liquor in “his well known style” at many significant events all over Victoria for a period of over forty years.

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At the company dinner held at the Mechanics Institute, North Melbourne on the 9th April 1886 the reporter wrote:

“…The menu was of a most elaborate character, and included all the good things common to a well appointed table…”

“…Mr. Urie proposed the health of the caterer (Mr. C. D. Straker) in some very complimentary remarks, which were responded to by Mr. Straker, who stated his intention of shortly erecting a hall of his own where entertainments could be held, and where his patrons would not be tied to time as in other places…” [1]

On the 22nd of June 1887 the Ferguson & Urie stained glass company held the second company dinner at the North Melbourne Mechanics Institute and Straker was again the caterer.

“…On Wednesday  evening about 40 gentlemen sat down to a dinner given by the above firm to their employees. The table was laid out in Mr. Straker’s  well-known style. The Jubilee  time lent an additional éclat  to the proceedings which passed off capitally and the guests of Mr. Urie  heartily enjoyed the firm’s kindness and hospitality…”

On Thursday 15th March 1888 the last known Ferguson & Urie company dinner was held. Although the previous two occasions had been catered for by Straker, there was no mention of the catering on this occasion and the reporter focussed his attention to the toasts and speeches given by various members and guests. But, it’s probably fair to assume that Straker was again at the helm of the catering for the occasion.

Charles Doyl Straker (c.1839 – 1913). [2]

Charles Doyl Straker was born in Barbados, West Indies, circa 1839 and was the son of Octavius Straker and Margaret Ann Harris. In 1910 it was reported that he had arrived in Victoria aboard the “Indian Queen” on the 1st January 1856 but there is no record of his name amongst the passenger lists so it could be that he was a member of the ships crew.  

He married Julia, nee Cribb, on the 1st March 1860 at the Congregational Church in Collins Street Melbourne and his first venture at being a publican was at the Parkside Hotel on Flemington Road between Harcourt and Blackwood Streets circa 1866-1871.

Other than his love of greyhound coursing events, the prized meetings for publicans and caterers around Melbourne were horse racing meetings. The right to operate publican’s booths and marquees at the races were often auctioned off to the highest bidder at these events and Straker was always there. In the lead up to the 1869 Melbourne Cup, Straker’s Parkside Hotel bid £42 for booth four on the flat at Flemington[3]. The horse “Warrior” was the victor of the Melbourne Cup that year and took home a £1260 winners purse and it’s a fair bet that Straker and his other publican peers made a decent profit on the day as well. His presence at racing events would grow more elaborate every year.

By circa 1871 Straker’s next venture would be the “Three Crowns” Hotel on the corner of King and Victoria Streets West Melbourne.[4] The old building still exists and operates under the same name but it is looking a little worse for wear, which is entirely understandable given that the building is now about a century and a half old.

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In 1873 “The Renown Charles Straker, of the Three Crowns Hotel” advertised his “STRAIGHT TIP” for the up-coming Flemington Melbourne Cup as his “Monster Marquee” which was touted as the major attraction at Flemington. His marquee was reported to be over 200ft in length with a bar that could supply one to ten thousand patrons simultaneously.[5] The real winner in that year was a horse named “Don Juan” but it would be safe to assume that Straker made a considerable fortune on the beverages that passed over that bar on the day!

Over the following years Straker’s name became well known throughout the colony as caterer and publican at all manner of sporting events and social occasions. He had a liking for the Hunt Club races and was well known amongst coursing circles and sponsored and catered for many of those events.

A little public jocularity was certainly a good advertisement for his business especially if it meant getting his name and that of his hotel into the newspapers. In July 1876 Straker and Thomas Arnott competed for a trophy in “Pedestrianism” in Royal Park. Despite Straker being the favourite, Arnott won the event.

“PEDESTRIANISM. A private pedestrian match came off on Monday last between a local celebrity and a gentleman of high renown in coursing circles, namely, Mr. Charles Straker, of the Three Crowns Hotel, West Melbourne, and Mr. Thomas Arnott, of 14 Errol-street, Hotham, for a trophy. The match came off in the Royal Park, the distance being 100 yards, the latter proving victorious, which was a great surprise to the backers of the former, as he was considered the favourite, even at starting. Time – 12 seconds.”[6]

In July 1880 Straker provided a monetary prize and a Silver tea service for the winner of an event that he was sponsoring, “The Three Crowns Stakes,” at the Kensington Park Rabbit Coursing[7] and in May of 1882 he provided a trophy to the value of £5-5s for one of the events held at the “The United Fire Brigades Demonstration” [8]. Probably his biggest coup for 1882 came a couple of months later where the National Agricultural Society of Victoria awarded him the sole right to cater for the Intercolonial Ploughing Match to be held at the Chirnside’s Werribee Park Estate on the 26th & 27th July 1882.[9] [10] The event was hampered by bad weather but was still attended by about 3,000 people. On the second day of the competition the grand luncheon which he provided was attended by many politicians and dignitaries including Governor of Victoria[11].

Like many other publicans who sought to stretch the law when it came to Sunday trading, Straker and four other publicans were fined 20s at the city court in March 1883 for their deliberate ignorance of the Sunday trading law. [12] It certainly didn’t affect his long standing reputation as the best caterer in the colony and he was rewarded yet again in July 1884 when the Victorian Racing Club at Flemington awarded various catering contracts for a period of three years. Straker’s Three Crowns Hotel tendered for and won the much sought after contract for the luncheon rooms and all the bars at Flemington, with the exception of the saddling paddock.  [13]

In late 1887 Straker became the proprietor of the Clement’s Hotel & Café in Swanston Street, Melbourne[14]. The building had been opened by the Mayor of Melbourne in 1874[15] and was in close proximity to the Prince of Wales Opera House (later the Tivoli Theatre) and it provided him a ready stream of patrons from high society[16]. He made considerable renovations throughout to align its appeal to the gentry, by fitting out two substantial rooms exclusively for the ladies and ice creams were served in the warmer months. The “sterner” sex, as they were referred to, were also well catered for by the addition of a new “Circular” bar with an adjoining smoking and lounge room and new lavatories were installed throughout. The former proprietor, T. Clements, also had considerable catering equipment on the premises and with that now combined with Straker’s substantial equipment, it was now valued at over £12,000 and gained him the notoriety of possessing;

“…the largest catering plant in the Southern Hemisphere…”

“A walk through the store rooms at the rear of the café, in company with Mr. Straker, is quite bewildering. On the shelves, ranged on my right, there are 20,000 plates, in endless variety of pattern, while on the left, tier upon tier of chinaware is stored, and it is difficult for the spectator to believe that he is not in a wholesale china hall…” 

“…It only remains to be added that Mr. Straker is now enabled to undertake any catering for balls, parties, banquets, racing, coursing, cricketing, football or acquatic [sic] meetings, and that he is prepared to hire out all requisites for catering.”[17]

When the Victorian railway opened from Melbourne to Kilmore in late 1888, Straker was there again to play his part in history by catering for the event which was held in the Odd Fellows Hall at Kilmore. On Monday the 1st of October 1888 a special train from Melbourne was dispatched to Kilmore to mark the event but, unfortunately it only embarrassed itself:-

“The train was timed to reach Kilmore at 1:18 p.m. but it was an hour late owing, we believe to one or two causes – want of good coal and an unsuitable or incapable engine…” [18]

In 1893 Straker dissolved his interests in the Clements Café in favour of joining his son Alfred at the Glenferrie Hotel at Hawthorn on the East side of Melbourne. The original owner of the Glenferrie, John Ormond, built the Hotel & Coffee Palace in 1888 on the site of the former home of literary legend Henry Handel Richardson. Ormond advertised the hotel for lease in January of 1893 and Straker’s son Alfred became lessee. After Alfred’s decision to move to Warragul in 1904, Charles took over the lease. Amazingly, just like his former Three Crowns Hotel in North Melbourne, this magnificent old building still exists and has recently been refurbished complete with period decorations and a magnificent four sided antique carved wooden bar replete with antique clock faces.

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The 1st of March 1910 marked a significant occasion in Hawthorn. Charles Doyl Straker and his wife Julia (nee Cribb) celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary at the Hawthorne Town Hall[19]. An estimated 350 guests attended which included many Councillors and Mayors of the surrounding municipalities as well as hundreds of other influential citizens, business associates and friends from all over Victoria and surrounding colonies. It was described as “…one of the most unique functions ever held there…”

straker-06This was certainly a grand affair and nothing of such a scale had been seen in Hawthorn for many years. A photographer from the studios of Talma & Co of Swanston Street Melbourne succeeded in performing the most difficult task of taking a “Flash” photograph of almost the entire assembly of guests. The photo was taken from the town hall stage looking down over the guests assembled on the hall floor below, with the Straker’s and their family in prominent positions at the front. The historic photograph was published on page 30 of the “Punch” tabloid on Thursday 17th March 1910. [20]

Straker 03.jpg

In the absence of the Hon John Murray, then Premier of Victoria, George Swinburne M.L.A. delivered the speech to the Straker’s and the assembled guests:-

“To Mr. and Mrs. Charles Doyle Straker.- On completion of fifty years of your married life, your friends have arranged to present you with a memento as a token of their high respect and esteem. We most heartily congratulate you both on this occasion of the celebration of your gold wedding, and sincerely wish you many more years of conjugal happiness, and trust you may continue to take part in the social life of Hawthorn for many days to come. 1st March 1910.” Mr. Swinburne then presented Mrs. Straker with a purse weighted with gold, and Mr. Straker with a gold sovereign case, also filled with gold…”  [21]

On Saturday the 6th of December 1913, Charles Doyl Straker died at his home “Woonooke” at 152 Riversdale Road, Hawthorne. He was 74 years old and had been a colonist of 57 years [22]. His wife Julia died the following year on the 31st March 1914 [23].

Charles & Julia are buried in Melbourne General Cemetery with two of their infant children, Ada Louiza and Albert Henry, who both died on the same day, 26th October 1875.

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The Straker’s had four surviving sons, two of whom carried on in the catering business; another was a publican at South Melbourne. Alfred Herbert was lessee of the railway refreshments rooms at Warragul in Gippsland. There were also two surviving daughters and six grandchildren.

In October 1917, the Glenferrie Hotel in Hawthorn became the site of the largest ever catering plant auction in the Commonwealth of Australia. The entire catering equipment of the late Charles Doyl Straker, described thirty years earlier as being the largest in the southern hemisphere, was put up for auction. The enormous stock, consisting of marquees, thousands of pieces of chinaware, cutlery, napery, steam boilers, field kitchens, vans, harnesses and every other imaginable item that could be required for catering on a massive scale, would be dispersed across the colonies and his legendary status as the famous colonial caterer would be relegated to history. [24]

Footnotes:

[1] The North Melbourne Advertiser, Friday 16th April 1886, page 3.

[2] Although some tabloid reports and documents spell his middle name as “Doyle” with an “e”, his grave stone has it spelt “Doyl” as well as on their marriage certificate in 1860 and his last will and testament dated November 1913 deliberately has the “e” struck out.

[3] Weekly Times, Melbourne, Vic, Saturday 30th October 1869, page 4.

[4] Williamstown Chronicle, Vic, Saturday 1st April 1871, page 1.

[5] The Age, Melbourne, Vic, Friday 31st October 1873, page 8.

[6] North Melbourne Advertiser, Vic, Friday 21st July 1876, page 2.

[7] The Age, Melbourne, Vic, Saturday 31st July 1880, page 6.

[8] The Ballarat Star, Vic, Thursday 18th May 1882, page 4.

[9] Sportsman, Melbourne, Vic, Wednesday 19th July 1882, page 3

[10] The Bacchus Marsh Express, Vic, Saturday 15th  July 1882, page 3.

[11] George Augustus Constantine Phipps, 2nd Marquess of Normanby GCB GCMG   PC (1819–1890)

[12] The Age, Melbourne, Vic, Wednesday 14th March 1883, page 6.

[13] The Age, Melbourne, Vic, Saturday 5th July 1884, page 11.

[14] Table Talk, Melbourne, Vic, Friday 14th October 1887, page 12.

[15] Weekly Times, Melbourne, Vic, Saturday 1st August 1874, page 13.

[16] Before the renumbering of Melbourne’s Streets in the late 1880’s, Clements Hotel & Cafe was at 56-58 Swanston Street and after the renumbering addressed at 158-164.

[17] Table Talk, Melbourne, Vic, Friday 14th October 1887, page 12.

[18] Kilmore Free Press, Vic, Thursday 4th October 1888, page 4.

[19] Reporter, Box Hill, Vic, Friday 4th march 1910, page 7.

[20] Punch, Melbourne, Vic, Thursday 17th March 1910, page 30.

[21] Punch, Melbourne, Vic, Thursday 17th March 1910, page 31.

[22] The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Monday 8th December 1913, page 1.

[23] The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Saturday 4th April 1914, page 11.

[24] The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Saturday 13th October 1917, page 2.

 


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1867: Presbyterian Church, Melton, Victoria.

The Presbyterians of Melton had previously held their services in a wooden building known as the “Union Church.” which was used by all of Melton’s Christian denominations until they had erected their own.

The foundation stone of the Presbyterian church was laid on the 27th December 1865[1] but it would be nearly two years before it would open for services and the proposed tower and spire in the original designs never eventuated

The stone for the church was quarried free of charge from the nearby property of a “Mr. Corr”[2], who was the first headmaster of the Melton Common School, secretary and treasurer of the Melton Cemetery Trust, Treasurer of the Wesleyan Church and Deputy Registrar of births deaths and marriages[3].

 The Presbyterians held their annual Soiree in the old Union church on the 8th October 1867 and later proceeded to the new incomplete church. Of the windows it was reported;

“…The windows of the church are particularly elegant, especially the principal one at the back of the pulpit, which is fitted with stained glass of a very rich description…”[4]

A month later the Age newspaper published an article specifically mentioning the Ferguson & Urie company of North Melbourne as the makers of the stained glass window in the liturgical east end;

“THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH AT MELTON is nearly completed, the glaziers being engaged with the windows. The Bacchus Marsh Express praises the stained glass, the design and colors being beautiful. “Messrs Ferguson and Urie, of North Melbourne, are entitled to great commendation for their workmanship in this respect…[5]

Photos taken: 7th September 2014.

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The window is of four lights with smaller tracery windows above to complete the design and is a typical design by Ferguson & Urie from that period. The two centre lights have the ribbons/scrolls in the centre with the following two pieces of scripture:

“Christ is all and in all” – (Colossians 3:11)
“Worship God in the Spirit” – (Philippians 3:3)

The original bluestone nave of the church now sits sandwiched between two newer buildings with doorways to each at the ends. The single light windows in the nave are works of art by the Brooks, Robinson & Co stained glass company from the early 1900’s and later. These windows were originally likely to have been Ferguson & Urie’s simple stained glass bordered designs that have been replaced over more than a century and a half. The historic Ferguson & Urie stained glass window at the east end still lights the nave of the old church building the same as it has since 1867 and creates an amazing kaleidoscope of coloured patterns over the floor when the sunlight strikes it at the right time

Significant transcriptions:

The Age, Melbourne, Vic, Monday 14th October 1867, page 6.

“THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH AT MELTON is nearly completed, the glaziers being engaged with the windows. The Bacchus Marsh Express praises the stained glass, the design and colors being beautiful. “Messrs Ferguson and Urie, of North Melbourne, are entitled to great commendation for their workmanship in this respect. It is expected the church will be opened in a month for public worship. The cost is £1000, of which only £100 has to remain as a debt on the building. This speaks well for the Presbyterians of Melton.”

Bacchus Marsh Express, Vic, Saturday 14th September 1867, page 2.

“OPENING OF THE NEW PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, MELTON.

THE Presbyterians of Melton district have for some years back held divine service in a wooden building known as the Union Church, owing to it having been erected and afterwards used by all denominations. On Sunday last, however, the Presbyterian congregation took possession of their own Church, when the Rev. H. Darling, of Emerald Hill, and the Rev. James Lambie, pastor of the congregation, conducted the services. The former preached in the absence of the Rev. T. McKenzie Frazer, who had been announced to do so. The Wesleyans, who used to use the Union Church, have now a building of their own, and the Church of England congregation have also completed the erection of a handsome Church, with the exception of the windows and seats, so that in a short time the Union Church will be devoted to school purposes only.

THE SOIREE.

The annual soire of the congregation was celebrated in the building known as the Union Church, and after the eatables had been disposed of, the partakers proceeded to the new Church, a short distance away, where the Rev. James Lambie, pastor of the congregation, took the chair. Of the building itself we are not disposed to give elaborate particulars which are perhaps well known to those interested in the matter. Its dimensions are stated to be 50ft. [unreadable characters…] It is apparent to any observer, however that the new Melton Presbyterian Church, both externally and internally, would be a credit to any community; and although it is not yet finished, as a steeple is intended to be erected, yet the absence of this ornament is scarcely noticeable. The windows of the church are particularly elegant, especially the principal one at the back of the pulpit, which is fitted with stained glass of a very rich description. The building is entirely of bluestone, with a slate roof, and the ceiling is a groined one, thereby affording the greatest possible loftiness for ventilation, besides adding to the general ecclesiastical appearance of the interior. The pulpit and platform surrounding it is of a massive kind, having nothing paltry in its appearance, although the usual amount of French polish has not yet been applied. The seats, too, for the congregation are strong roomy ones, made upon a good pattern; and altogether the Church bears evidence that what has been attempted has been done in the best manner, and so far from there being any reason for surprise that the Church has been two years in course of construction, the wonder is that such thorough progress has been made in the time. These preliminary remarks may well be concluded by the addition of a word of praise to the efforts of the choir upon the occasion of the soire, as their performances were really enjoyable.

The CHAIRMAN remarked that while congratulating those assembled, he did not intend to specially address them; he would leave that to his brethren on the platform. It was two years last month since they commenced to built the Church. They had proceeded slowly, but surely. He submitted a statement of the Building Fund.

The subscriptions had amounted to £470. 7s. 4½d.; bazaars, £265.17s.7d.; grant from Assembly , £189.7s.9d.; foundation stone collection, £32. 10s.; loan from Bank, £100. He had little to say further than that the subscriptions had been raised almost entirely from members and adherents of the Church. He did not mention this boastingly. The ladies had purchased the lamps, and the children furnished the precentor’s desk. There had been expended £1049. 11s. 8d., leaving a balance of £11. 0s. 8½.

Mr. BLACKWOOD then read the treasurer’s report for the past year, from which it appeared that the receipts had been £126. 2s. 11d., and the expenditure £124. 0s.5½d., leaving a balance of £2. 2s. 5½d. The speaker referred to the lotting of the seats, and that accommodation would be made for those who did not rent seats. He wished some of the reverend gentlemen to take up the question of whether the congregation should stand or sit at singing. He wished to see uniformity.

The CHAIRMAN intimated that some of the reverend gentlemen who had been invited were absent. They were the Revs. J. Clarke, A McNicol, W. A. Lind, and J. C. Sabine. [Mr. Sabine had desired us to mention that he intended to be present, but the heat of the day prevented him, and he delayed sending an apology hoping that it would moderate].

The Rev. R. HENDERSON was the next speaker. He said that although several gentlemen were absent, he felt assured there would be no lack of speakers. They had Mr. Inglis, who was a host in himself. He would take his cue from Mr. Blackwood, and endeavour to comply with his desire that those learned in Church matters should enlighten them regarding the posture in worship. He believed it had been the practice of their Church for 300 years to sit during singing; but the General Assembly allowed congregations to make their own rules in regard to such matters. If they were unanimous in resolving to stand at singing, there was nothing to prevent them. So far as he was concerned, he preferred to see the congregation standing during singing, as it enabled them to execute their psalmody in a better manner than while sitting. The rev. gentleman then commented upon the necessity of improving the psalmody as much as possible, and was favourable to the use of a harmonium. Many congregations had introduced them, and others were merely putting off the consideration of the question. He agreed with all the encomiums upon their Church bestowed by the Rev. H. Darling, and suggested that all Presbyteries should adopt some definite system in regard to architectural style. He recommended the congregation to assume a reverential demeanour upon entering their Church, and exhorted them also to realise that, although Christians were divided into seats, yet they all had one heaven to receive them. Before sitting down, he must congratulate Mr. Lambie upon his success in raising money to build this Church. As a co-presbyter with him, he desired publicly to acknowledge his earnest and inudable endeavours in this matter. He rejoiced in being present this evening, and wished them God speed in their endeavours.

The Rev. J. W. INGLIS commenced by some humorous remarks, depreciatory of the laudatory manner in which the previous speaker had referred to him, and said that the expectation of the assemblage had been unduly raised. It was twelve years ago since he had attended his first tea meeting at Melton, and there were only five persons present. In fact, he had boiled his billy on the bank of the creek. His next meeting was with their present pastor, and now once again he had the pleasure of meeting them under prosperous circumstances, in their own Church. The Union Church had answered its purpose well, but now Melton possessed three substantial Churches, which they must all rejoice at. Their Church was certainly a handsome one, but no doubt no handsomer than they thought it to be; and he might say that Presbyteries were only beginning to pay proper attention to architectural effect; still they must never forget the higher object of their Church buildings. The speaker exhorted the congregation to take special interest in all that appertained to their Church, and to guard against the deadness which would fall upon a congregation which did not regularly attend at worship every Sabbath. He was more than pleased to hear that they had contributed to all the funds for which the Assembly sought their aid, and he trusted that they would always recollect the claims of such objects. Although a Presbyterian, he was no sectarian, and did not wish his sympathies to remain with that Church only; for there was but one Shepherd, one fold, one House of many mansions, and they should remember that this building was God’s house – not theirs – but dedicated to the God of Zion. Let them enter it as the gate of heaven, thinking of God’s words, “Come to me, all ye that are heavy laden;” and there was nothing which would cheer the adversities of this life but seeking the house of God every Sabbath, where they could have communion with God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ, and feel that there was a place prepared for them where the inhabitants know no tears, and which was the land of everlasting bliss. If they did this, truly this place would be a blessed place. He had but one word to say, in regard to their indebtedness to God for all they had. If they realised this, and were honest in their religious convictions, neither he nor any other minister would have occasion to ask them to give of their substance to the purposes of God’s worship. He hoped that for many years they would worship here, and may the faith they had imbibed enable them to enter into the joy of the kingdom of their Lord. A collection was then taken up, during which the choir sang “How Beautiful upon the Mountain.” They also sang at the conclusion of each speech.

The Rev. J. MEEK would simply make a few remarks in his own way. He had watched their progress as a congregation with considerable satisfaction, and he was here to confess that the career of this congregation had taught him one or two useful lessons. He had at one time serious misgivings as to the success of the effort to establish this congregation, but their prosperity had rebuked him, and taught him to remember that it was right to do one’s duty, and leave the results to God. We at Gisborne would not feel flattered by being compared to Melton; yet they worshipped in a temporary wooden building. He hoped their success in Melton would induce the Gisborne congregation to at least consider the matter of beginning to do likewise. He looked upon this Church as a testimony to the zeal and devotedness of their minister, and as a monument of their liberality; and he trusted most earnestly that on the great day of accounts, their minister might have many from among them as a crown of glory.

The Rev. J. SCOTT had been admonished by the departure of many that the patience of the audience was well-nigh exhausted. He had not come with any desire of speaking, but rather to hear others. However, he must join his congratulations with those of the speakers who had preceded him. Their minister had done what few of his brethren would have attempted. He felt that they had done great things in the past, and he believed it would be an incentive for them to buckle with a will to attend with zeal to all those observances which proved them a Christian people. The rev. gentleman urged the congregation to train their children to build up Christ’s cause in this young country, and concluded by hoping that they and their pastor would enjoy many such meetings as the present.

The CHAIRMAN announced the collection to be £5. 18s. 4d., making upwards of £20 with the collection of the previous day, for which the committee gave their hearty thanks.

Mr. BUCHANAN proposed a vote of thanks to the ladies, and made one of the best speeches of the evening. Carried by acclamation. Mr. BLACKWOOD proposed a vote of thanks to Mr. Corr, for having allowed the Committee to take the stone for building the Church from his property, free of charge. The vote was carried, and ordered to be conveyed to Mr. Corr. The vote of thanks to the visitors was also proposed by Mr. Blackwood.

The Rev. J. W. INGLIS, the Rev. R. HENDERSON, and the Rev. H. DARLING replied. The latter remarked that he was in favour of the congregation standing during singing and sitting during prayer, with the head upon the book board, as the attention was not then distracted as when standing. His congregation followed this practice.

Mr. MACINTOSH replied to a vote of thanks to the trustees. He was delighted to see what had been done, and he hoped that they would all recollect what had been said respecting regular attendance at Church. He was of opinion that the congregation should agree for the future to sit at prayer and stand at singing.

Mr. McPHERSON paid some deserved compliments to the choir in proposing a vote of thanks to them and their leader, Mr. Merchant.

The CHAIRMAN here presented Mr. Oldershaw, a member of the choir, a splendidly-bound edition of Cassell’s Illustrated Bible, as a testimony from the committee of their appreciation of his services.

Mr. OLDERSHAW expressed his thanks in a feeling manner, but was scarcely audible enough. The Rev. J. MEEK proposed a vote of thanks to the Chairman, which was briefly responded to, and the rev. gentleman remarked that henceforth he would be able to give more time to the spiritual wants of the congregation than hitherto.

The proceedings were closed by the choir singing a hymn. The proceeds of the sale of tickets amount to £16.”

Footnotes:

[1] The Australasian, Melbourne, Vic, Saturday 30th December 1865, page 12.

[2] Bacchus Marsh Express, Vic, Saturday 14th September 1867, page 2.

[3] Shire of Melton Heritage Study, Vol 5, page 3.

[4] Bacchus Marsh Express, Vic, Saturday 14th September 1867, page 2.

[5] The Age, Melbourne, Vic, Monday 14th October 1867, page 6.

 


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1864: St Mary’s Anglican Church, Bulla, Victoria

Thirty kilometres north of Melbourne and eleven kilometres east of Sunbury is the township of Bulla which derives its name from the aboriginal word ‘Bulla-Bulla’ and means ‘two round low hills’ or ‘the two breasts.’[1] Most Victorians today probably know the name Bulla for its famous “Bulla Ice cream,” made by the Bulla Dairy Company since 1910.

In late 1842, Royal Navy Officer William Pomeroy Greene arrived in the Bulla area with his wife Anne and their seven children and a portable pre-fabricated house they brought out from England. They settled at ‘Woodlands,’ which is a few kilometres east of the town of Bulla and just north of the Tullamarine airport runway. The “Woodlands Historic Park” and restored homestead is now administered by Parks Victoria and is open to the public. It’s also home of the “Living Legends” which is the International Home of Rest for Champion Horses.

Anne Greene (nee Griffith) donated the land for St Mary’s Anglican Church at Bulla and in the presence of Bishop Charles Perry she laid its foundation stone on Friday 23rd July 1858.[2] The church was consecrated on the 2nd September 1864[3] at which time the new chancel was added and the liturgical east tripartite stained glass window by the North Melbourne firm Ferguson & Urie had been installed. This window was the gift of Anne’s sister in-law, Jane Catherine Griffith, the wife of her late brother Charles James Griffith.

St Mary’s Church was originally located on the corner of Oaklands and Bulla Roads, a few kilometres east of the town of Bulla and a short distance south of Woodlands, but more than a century later the church was in the path of the expanding Tullamarine airport runway. The introduction of the Jumbo jets, 24 hour airport operations, and the extensions to the runway was deemed a significant structural threat to the church and so it had to be moved.

On the 22nd January 1971 the final wedding ceremony was held in St Mary’s before it was dismantled and moved to its present site in the township of Bulla[4]. The church was reopened in its new location on the 24th November 1974 and was consecrated by Rev. Frank Woods in the presence of the Governor of Victoria, Sir Henry Arthur Winneke.

St Mary’s is no longer used for religious services and has been returned to the control of the Anglican Diocese property management. Its unknown what the future holds for the old church or what will become of the historic stained glass windows.

Photos taken: 17th April 2015.

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The stained glass window is an easily recognised work by the Ferguson & Urie company. The apex of the centre light depicts the descending Dove. The centre contains a crimson floriated cross with an azure blue background containing passion flowers and vine leaves. A  scrolling ribbon which flows around the cross contains the words: “I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMER LIVETH Job 19-25.” The scene in the bottom third of the window depicts the three Mary’s at the empty tomb with an angel proclaiming, as written in the text below the scene, “HE IS NOT HERE”. At the very base of this window is the dedicatory text: “Presented by Mrs Charles Griffith 1864.” The flanking side lights contain identical Gothic floral designs with diamond quarries filled with the Fleur-de-lys pattern. The centre design of these lights is the monogram “I.H.S.” in blue on a crimson background and incorporates the crown of majesty.

 

Anne Greene (nee Griffith 1795-1865).

Anne Greene laid the foundation stone of St Mary’s at Bulla in 1858 on land that she had donated for the church. Anne was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1795, the daughter of Richard Griffith and Mary Hussey Burgh. She married former Royal Navy Officer William Pomeroy Greene (c.1797-1845) in Ireland on the 31st March 1826. For the sake of William’s health they emigrated to Australia and arrived at Port Phillip aboard the barque Sarah on the 5th December 1842 accompanied by their seven children and a prefabricated portable house which would be erected at “Woodlands” near Sunbury. William died at Woodlands on the 5th March 1845.

Anne was the sister of Sir Richard Griffith (1784-1878) and Charles James Griffith (1808-1863). Anne died aged 69, on the 13th March 1865 at ‘d’Estaville,’ the residence of Sir William Stawell, at Barry Street Kew, Victoria.

Charles James Griffith (1808-1863):

Jane Catherine Griffith (nee Magee), the wife of Charles James Griffith, was the donor of the Ferguson & Urie stained glass window for the new chancel of St Mary’s Anglican Church at Bulla in 1864[5].

Her husband Charles was born in Millicent, Kildare, Ireland, in 1808, the sixth son of Richard Griffith and Mary Hussey Burgh and was educated in the legal profession at Trinity College Dublin and was admitted to the Irish bar circa 1831. On arrival in Australia in 1840 he settled at ‘Glenmore’ near Bacchus Marsh as a sheep farmer and never practiced in the legal profession in the colony. On a return visit to Ireland in the 1840’s he married Jane Catherine Magee in Dublin on the 16th December 1846. On their return to Australia he began his political career after nominations by Charles La Trobe in the early 1850’s. In 1854 Bishop Charles Perry appointed him Chancellor of the Melbourne Diocese and until the time of his death he was an active member of the Acclimatisation Society[6].

Charles Griffith died at his home ‘Tempe,’ Dandenong Road Prahran, on the 31st July 1863 aged 55[7]. They had no children.

At 11 o’clock on the 4th August 1863 his funeral service moved from St James’s Old Cathedral[8] to his place of interment at the Melbourne General Cemetery. The portion of the Griffith and Greene family headstone at the Melbourne General Cemetery that contains his epitaph reads:

“Sacred to the memory of Charles James GRIFFITH Esq who departed this life on 31 Jul 1863 age 56 years. This headstone is erected by Jane C. GRIFFITH as a tribute of love and affection to her beloved husband for if we believe that Jesus died and rose again even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. Thess. iv. IHS.” [9]

His will, dated 2nd Dec 1861, provided modest sums to his wife Jane and other family members as well as a sizeable sum to Bishop Perry for the Church of England;

“…To the Bishop of Melbourne for the time being, one thousand pounds to be applied according to his discretion to the general purposes of the Church of England in the diocese of Melbourne…”[10]

Significant tabloid transcriptions:

The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Wednesday 28th July 1858, page 5.

“CHURCH OF ENGLAND, BULLA BULLA.- The foundation-stone of the new Episcopal church at Bulla Bulla was laid by Mrs. Greene (the donor of the land which the building is to be erected) on Friday last. Bishop Perry presided at the ceremony. The Church is to have a nave, transept, and chancel, in the early English period of architecture, with a tower and spire at the north-west angle, which will form the principal entrance to the building. The portions at present in course of erection are the nave, tower, and spire, and the whole is being executed in blue stone procured in the neighborhood, and carted to the site free of charge by the settlers in the district.”

The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Monday 3rd August 1863, page 5.

“We regret to have to announce the death of Mr. C. J. Griffiths [sic], a gentleman who for many years past has taken an active part in the public affairs of the colony, and has also been connected with it in various official capacities. Mr. Griffiths had been ailing for a considerable period, and within the last ten days his complaint, which his medical advisers, Dr. Pugh and Mr. Rudall, decided to be aneurism, assumed a formidable aspect. The death took place at Mr. Griffith’s residence, Dandenong-road, on Friday evening last.”

The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Tuesday 4th August 1863, page 5.

“MR. C. J. GRIFFITH.

Yesterday, we recorded the death of Mr. Charles James Griffith. The removal – sudden and unlooked for – of one of the first settlers of the colony, a gentleman who, privately, was widely known and highly esteemed, and whose public career was neither brief nor unimportant, demands more than passing notice.

            Mr. Griffith was the sixth son of Richard Griffith , Esq., M.P., of Millicent, Kildare, by Mary, daughter of Lord Chief Baron Hussey Burgh. He was born August, 1808; graduated as M.A. at Trinity College, Dublin; and was called to the bar about 1831. In 1840, Mr. Griffith arrived at Port Philip, and settled at Glenmore, near Bacchus Marsh as a sheep farmer. On the separation of the colony of Victoria from New South Wales, Mr. Griffith was appointed by the Superintendent (Mr. La Trobe) one of the nominee members of the Legislative Council, and afterwards he was elected to Parliament by the constituency of Dundas and Follet. In 1853 he was appointed President of the Board of Commissioners of Water Supply and Sewerage. Under his presidency the board, in the face of continued violent opposition and adverse criticism, carried out the Yan Yean scheme; but after surmounting all the difficulties of the undertaking, Mr. Griffith resigned his office. The ministry of the day conceived they had a right to command the votes of all members of Parliament who were connected with the public service, and Mr. Griffith declined to sacrifice his independence. Upon the new Constitution coming into operation, Mr. Griffith’s friends decided to propose him for the Speakership of the Legislative Assembly. The present Speaker was also nominated, and succeeded in securing the votes of a majority of the House. Continued private and public exertions weakening Mr. Griffith’s health, he paid a visit to Europe, in 1858 and did not return to Victoria until April, 1862. Lately he was a candidate for the seat in the Legislative Council for North-Western Province to which Mr. Jenner was elected, and at the time of his decease he held the appointments of Chairman of the Board of Education and Commissioner under the Real Property Act. Mr. Griffith always took a prominent part in the affairs of the Church of England. From the time of its creation, he filled the office of chancellor of the diocese, and he was an active member of the Church Assembly from the period of the formation of that body. Mr Griffith married in the colony [sic], and leaves a widow without family. Although his health has been declining for some time past, it is but the other day that he was engaged in the active discharge of his duties, and until less than a week of his decease, the fatal termination of the attack which confined him to his chamber was not anticipated.”

The Age, Vic, Wednesday 5th August 1863, page 5.

“The Council of the Acclimatisation Society met yesterday, as usual, and the following resolution was unanimously passed:- “The council of the Acclimatisation Society hereby express their deep regret at the death of C. J. Griffith, Esq., their highly valued colleague, and unanimously resolve that the council do now adjourn, in order thereby to testify their respect for the memory of the departed gentleman; and further, that the minute be entered on the records of the council.” The council adjourned accordingly.”

Bendigo Advertiser, Vic, Thursday 6th August 1863, page 3.

“MELBOURNE NEWS.

(Herald.)

The funerals of two old and highly respected colonists took place on Tuesday, and both were numerously attended. The funeral of the late Mr. C. J. Griffith, Chancellor of the Diocese, took place in the morning. A special service was performed at St. James’s Cathedral, at eleven o’clock, at which the very Rev the Dean of Melbourne officiated, assisted by the Rev S. L. Chase, and the Rev M. H. Becher, incumbent. The Rev C. T. Perks, and the Rev D. Seddon, were also present. The coffin was then borne to the hearse, the following gentlemen acting as pall-bearers:- Sir W. F. Stawell, the hon W. H. Mitchell, M.L.C.; Captain McMahon, M.L.A; hon T. T. A’Beckett, M.L.C; and Sir Redmond Barry. The cortege consisted of four mourning coaches, and about twenty private carriages, including his Excellency the Governor’s, which was closed. The funeral was attended by a large number of the members of both houses of Parliament, and many gentlemen with whom the deceased had been so long associated, and by them held in high esteem. The procession proceeded from the Cathedral along Collins and Swanston streets to the new cemetery, were [sic] the last rites were performed by the Dean.”

Portland Guardian, Vic, Monday 10th August 1863, page 3.

“THE LATE C. J. GRIFFITH, ESQ.

(From the “Herald” of 4th inst.)

Mr. Charles James Griffith, who expired suddenly, on Saturday last from aneurism of the aorta, was a very old colonist. He was a member of the bar, but never practiced his profession in the colony, but was principally engaged in pastoral pursuits; and at the time of his death held, in conjunction with Mr. Molesworth Greene, one of the largest stations in the country. Mr. Griffith has also taken a very active part in public affairs. He was a nominee member of the old Legislative Council, and took a prominent part in debates. When the new Parliament was called into existence Mr. Griffith was chosen as the representative of Dundas and Follet; and on the 21st of Nov., 1856, was nominated for the office of speaker, in opposition to Sir Francis Murphy, who was elected. At that time Mr. Griffith occupied the position of President of the Board of Sewerage and Water Supply, and he continued to fulfil the duties appertaining to the office until the completion of the Yan Yean works. Mr. Griffiths supported the Haines administration, and manifested a great interest in the various questions which came before the House in that session, including the Electoral Bill, the Land Bill, and the bill for the formation of a trunk line of railway. Mr. Griffith long held the appointment of chancellor of the diocese of Melbourne, and was for some time a Member of the Council of the University. About three years since, he visited England, and returned about nine months ago. On the composition of the new Education Board, Mr. Griffith was chosen as one of the members as representing the Church of England interest. On March last he unsuccessfully contested the South-Western Province with Mr. Jenner. Mr. Griffith has, at all times exhibited a warm interest in the cause of Education, and in all matters appertaining to the church of which he was a member. In 1845, he published a short work giving a history of the colony; and while he held the office of President of water supply, he wrote a pamphlet in answer to the many quibbles and objections that were raised at the time in reference to the scheme. Mr. Griffith was highly respected by all classes of colonists. He was connected, by marriage, with the families of Sir W. F. Stawell, the Dean of Melbourne, and Mr. R. F. Greene.

            The Argus says the deceased Mr. Griffith was the sixth son of Richard Griffith, Esq., M.P. of Millicent, Kildare, by Mary, daughter of Lord Chief Baron Hussey Burgh. He was born August, 1808; graduated as M.A. at Trinity College, Dublin; and was called to the bar abut 1831.”

The Argus, Melbourne, Tuesday 14th March 1865, page 4.

“GREENE.- On the 13th inst., at D’Eastaville, Anne Greene, widow of the late William Pomeroy Greene, Esq., R.N., of Woodlands.”

The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Saturday 22 July 1939, page 9.

“OLD ANGLICAN CHURCH.
Bulla Anniversary

St Mary’s Church of England, Bulla, a link with the pioneers, will celebrate its 81st anniversary at a special service at 3 p.m. on Sunday, July 30. The anniversary service is invariably the occasion for a reunion among families and descendants of families who have been associated with the church. Before the church was erected services were held in the barn at Woodlands, then the property of the late Mr. Rawdon Greene. The church was founded by Mrs. Greene and was built on land which was formerly part of the Woodlands Estate, the foundation-stone being laid on Friday, July 23, 1858, by Bishop Perry. The church was officially licensed on September 2, 1864, when the beautiful east window was presented by the late Mr. Charles Griffiths [sic]. In 1922 a complete set of memorial windows for the nave of the church was given by the prominent families.
Excepting the floor, the church is in excellent condition. Since the Rev. A. G. Mee has been in charge of the parish of Broadmeadows funds have been raised for repairs to the church. The preacher on July 30 will be the Rev. C. Hedly Raymond, vicar of St. Thomas’s, Essendon, and Rural Dean of Melbourne North. The choir of St. Paul’s Church, Ascotvale, will assist.”

External Links:

http://vhd.heritage.vic.gov.au/search/nattrust_result_detail/65967

My thanks to Diedre from the Melbourne Anglican Diocese for arranging access and for her valuable time and patience.

Footnotes:

[1] Sunbury News, Vic, Saturday 4th July 1910, page 2.

[2] The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Wednesday 28th July 1858, page 5.

[3] The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Saturday 22 July 1939, page 9.

[4] The Canberra Times, Friday 22nd January 1971, page 3.

[5] The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Saturday 22 July 1939, page 9.

[6] The Age, Vic, Wednesday 5th August 1863, page 5.

[7] The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Monday 3rd August 1863, page 4.

[8] The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Tuesday 4th August 1863, page 8.

[9] Melbourne General Cemetery [CofE, Compartment O, grave 93]

[10] Public Records Office, Vic, Probate file 4/448

 

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1873: St Thomas’ Catholic Church, Drysdale, Victoria.

The original St Thomas Catholic Church in Drysdale was built in 1855 to the designs of architect Richard Abraham Dowden (1829-1868).

It was constructed by Simmie & Mclachlan [1] and was officially opened in 1856.

In June 1873, architect Andrew Williams advertised for tenders for the enlargement of St Thomas [2] and by the end of July significant portions of the south end (liturgical east) were removed to make way for a new chancel, transept and vestry [3].

By October of 1873 a new three light window depicting the Crucifixion was erected in the new chancel by the Ferguson & Urie stained glass company of North Melbourne.

On the 8th of October 1873 a Geelong Advertiser reporter going by the name “G.D.P” wrote:

“…I noticed extensive improvements at the Roman Catholic Church, and was told that a splendid new chancel window was being put in by the celebrated firm of Ferguson, Urie and Lyon, of North Melbourne. I had not time to look at it, but a friend at Drysdale told me it was worth a visit…”[4]

Photos taken 19th June 2014.

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If  “G.D.P” had actually seen the window for himself in 1873 then it would certainly have been well worth the visit as his friend had stated.

The three light window still exists in remarkably good condition to this day despite some significant paint loss and water damage in the top third of the window. It is an unmistakeable and typical 1870’s Gothic design by the Ferguson & Urie stained glass company of North Melbourne.

The centre light of the window depicts the Crucifixion. The upper region of the window contains the triquetra symbol which is synonymous with the trinity. Beneath this, on the left, is the Pelican in the act of self sacrifice feeding blood from her chest to her young and on the right is the Paschal Lamb or ‘Agnus Dei’ carrying the victory banner.

The left and right lights contain the “Arma Christi” or “Instruments of the Passion” representing the tools and weapons used in Christ’s Crucifixion.

In the left light, at the top, is the scourging or flagellation post and at the bottom are the crown of thorns and the three nails used to affix Christ to the cross.

In the right light, at the top are other tools used to in the Crucifixion, the hammer, pincers, the sponge on the reed, lance, whips and the three dice that the soldiers used to draw lots to see who would gain Christ’s seamless garment. At the bottom of the window is the Holy Chalice.

The centre light contains the figurative scene of Christ being crucified and beneath his feet is the monogram “I.H.S,” being the first three initials for Christ in Greek.

The whole of the arrangement is filled in with a background of Gothic floral designs using the bold primary colours with alternating borders of red and blue separated by a white or yellow flower.

On the 28th of July 2010 the new modern St Thomas Church, in Peninsula Drive, was officially opened by Archbishop Denis Hart.[5]

The original old St Thomas Church in Wyndham Street, Drysdale is now privately owned and forms part of the Drysdale Grove Nursing Home complex.

Significant transcriptions:

Geelong Advertiser, Vic, Wednesday 8th October 1873, page 3.

“FROM GEELONG TO PORTARLINGTON.

On a short journey for health I took my way to one of my old and favourite places of retreat – Portarlington, and send my jottings of men and things as picked up by bits and scraps from conversation and observation. And first I am sure you will be glad to learn that on my whole journey from Geelong through Drysdale the country looked splendid; crops never looked better even in the best seasons of the past; and the roads – some portions are good, very good; some middling, and part execrable – I believe that is the word. Has the Shire Council not funds to metal the plank road – that abomination of travellers. When driving over it on a very dry day you think every bone in your body will be rattled away from the flesh; and the vehicle! it is a trial to coachmakers – springs, bolts, nuts, shafts, and all fixings are tested. Further on, near the Roman Catholic Church there is a jolting quagmire and pits. The metal is good again after this until you get on another spongy piece, and so it is the remainder of the way through this rising township to Portarlington, alternate clay road and stretches of metalling. On nearing Drysdale I was gratified with a sight of that splendid sheet of fresh water, called Lake Lorn, formed by the shire council by throwing up a bank across the outlet and macadamising the top of the bank. Around this inland lake the land has been selected, and the settler’s improvements are progressing rapidly. The margin for about 200 feet around the water has been reserved by Government, and is studded with large eucalypti, rendering the whole not unlike an old park lake of Britain. Drysdale has improved; the cottage building is of a more comfortable and pleasing style than I saw here three years ago. I noticed extensive improvements at the Roman Catholic Church, and was told that a splendid new chancel window was being put in by the celebrated firm of Ferguson, Urie and Lyon, of North Melbourne. I had not time to look at it, but a friend at Drysdale told me it was worth a visit. The shire hall is now civilised looking. The trees and shrubs have grown in a belt, and the old store like appearance has been altered by some additions and pinnacled gables. It is certainly not the wretched thing it was, but it wants renewing – stock, lock, and barrel – to suit the improvements around. The Buck’s Head is improved in appearance, a new orderly-room for the Drysdale Artillery has been erected on a vacant piece of ground, and some new shops have been built. I was greatly pleased with the new English Church, a pretty building with stained glass windows, about a quarter of a mile from the Buck’s Head. This being on the road side, I took a look inside, and was fairly astonished, everything was different to what I had seen in similar places, but suitable. The benches low, with kneeling-board, the book boards under the seats, and the back rails levelled off to rest on during prayer. There is no “wine glass” pulpit but a convenient service stand for the minister; the table is covered with a short fringed cloth; and the front of table, desk front, chancel arch, walls, and window-bays, is hung on painted with texts. The stained window in the chancel has the centre piece, the women at the tomb after the Resurrection, and the words “He is not here, He is risen,” underneath. The nave windows are filled with thick cathedral and colored glass. The whole work is tasty and reflects credit on the congregation. After leaving the church I got on my way to Portarlington again, but as there is a good deal to say about the improvements and appearances here, I will send you the remainder in a day or two, describing the schools, and jetties, &c., and perhaps some rare characters I have met with but who have not yet figured on the boards, till then I hope to sign myself. G.D.P.”

 

Footnotes:

[1] http://vhd.heritage.vic.gov.au/reports/report_place/21576 (accessed 1 June 2014)

[2] Geelong Advertiser, Vic, Thursday 12th June 1873, page 3.

[3] Geelong Advertiser, Vic, Monday 28th July 1873, page 3.

[4] Geelong Advertiser, Vic, Wednesday 8th October 1873, page 3.

[5] Kairos: Volume 21, Issue 15, 2010.

 

 


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1869: Presbyterian Church, Coimadai, Victoria.

Tracing the locations of Ferguson & Urie stained glass windows has revealed many interesting stories and facts and taken me to places I’ve never even heard of before. Some quaint little churches exist in tiny townships that are within an hour from home and yet I’ve never been to some of these towns and if I had, I probably blinked and missed it on the way through.

The latest obscure clues on my search for Ferguson & Urie stained glass leads to the historic township of ‘Coimadai’, located about 10km north of Bacchus Marsh and 65km west of Melbourne.

Some of these tiny communities only existed as a result of the 19th century gold rush era, or as a result of fertile farming land, mining or production of a commodity that that would eventually dissipate.

The tiny township of Coimadai in western Victoria still exists on today’s maps but little of its ecclesiastical history or original historic buildings still exist. Its greatest claim to fame would have been the quarrying of lime deposits originally discovered by John Hopgood in the 1850’s and after many later owners was floated in the 1880’s as a public company by the Alkemade Bros as the “Alkemade Hydraulic Lime Company.”[1] There was also the historic Coimadai Brick Works which existed up until the 1960’s.

In early 1868, the Presbyterians of Coimadai began open air church services after having the doors to the Common School at Coimadai closed against them.

After nine months of braving all weather conditions a public meeting was held at Willow Bank on Tuesday the 18th August 1868 for the purpose of discussing the possibility of erecting their own church[2].

Although the word ‘public’ conjures up the idea of the entire township turning up for the discussion, there were actually only eight of the Presbyterians at the meeting. Those present were Malcolm Cameron, Alex Hardy, Hutchinson Allen, George Greive, William McKelvie, Peter W. Train, and David D. Bower. The Rev. James Scott was elected to the chair[3].

Less than three months after that meeting the Hon. Sec, David D. Bower, advertised for tenders for the erection of the Coimadai Presbyterian Church[4] and in February 1869 the Presbytery appointed David D. Bower, Peter Train, Malcolm Cameron, Alexander Hardie, and Hutcheson M. Allen as Trustees for the Church property[5].

The tender of Althorne and Taylor was accepted for the erection of a Brick Church at a cost of about £320, half of which would be covered by the state aid to religion. Additional volunteer labour came from other denominations, including the members of the Catholic and Church of England congregations.

On Sunday 20th June 1869 the Church was opened with the Rev. J. Meek of Gisborne conducting the first service and apart from the religious side of the formalities the committee gave some descriptions of the building and fittings which included the leadlight windows with stained glass borders[6].

“…The church is a neat edifice of brick, occupying a prominent position close to Mr. Bower’s residence. Its dimensions are 40ft. x 20ft., with plastered ceiling and walls. At the rear are two small rooms, with fireplaces, which will be found very convenient for the use of the minister and the committee of management. There are three windows on each side filled with the usual lead lights with a stained glass border. There is also a window on each side of the entrance door and a louvre ventilator above. The angles of the building, the door jambs, and the windows, are faced with pretty freestone of the district, and altogether the building has a very neat and finished appearance…”[7]

The committee’s first annual financial statement for the Coimadai Presbyterian Church for 1869-70 indicated that the Ferguson & Urie Stained Glass Company of Melbourne was paid £19 for windows[8]. Based on the description and the cost of the glass, this leads me to believe that the windows were the company’s simple stock windows containing the simple red and blue stained glass borders with yellow or white flower alternating between each colour. These were the exact same design found in many churches and were usually the first windows to be installed and later replaced when parishioners donated memorial windows. Many of these original stock windows still exist in a small number of suburban and country churches to this day.

COIMADAI Indicative examples

 

Unfortunately the Coimadai Presbyterian Church no longer exists. Less than thirty years after the first service was conducted in 1869 the building was sold to the Alkemade Brothers in 1898 and was subsequently demolished to make way for a house.

“Alkemade Bros. seem to be doing well in the lime trade. One of them recently purchased the old Presbyterian church, and is now busy taking it down and I believe it is with the intention of erecting a brick villa. We shall have no other place to hold divine service in excepting the school room, which has been kindly lent by Mr. Borlase, the teacher. Week evening services are now held there by the Rev. F. H. Gibbs, which are well attended by the young people of Coimadai. The next service is to be held on August 25th. No doubt when the warm weather comes the Rev. J. A. Stuart will also assist, as in former days…”[9]

Much of the original historic township area of Coidamai is now nearly completely submerged under the Lake Merrimu Reservoir.

Significant tabloid transcriptions:

Bacchus Marsh Express, Vic, Saturday 22nd August 1868, page 2.

“A public meeting of the residents of Coimadai was held at Willow Bank on the evening of Tuesday, the 18th inst., for the purpose of taking into consideration the desirability of erecting a Church in connection with the Presbyterian cause in Victoria. The Rev. J. Scott, on taking the chair, stated the object of the meeting, and requested those present to express their views in the matter…”

The Bacchus Marsh Express, Vic, Saturday 7th November 1868, page 2.

“TENDERS ARE Requested for the erection of the Presbyterian Church, Coimadai, labour only. Bricklayer’s and carpenters work jointly or separately. Plans and specifications may be seen at the office of Mr. James Young, Bacchus Marsh. Tenders, addressed to the undersigned, Post-office, Coimadai, will be received up to 6 p.m. on Thursday, 26th inst., from whom all necessary information may be obtained. The Committee do not bind themselves to accept the lowest of any tender. DAVID D. BOWER, Hon. Sec.”

Bacchus Marsh Express, Vic, Saturday 20th February 1869, page 3.

“The Presbytery appointed the following persons as Trustees for the Church property at Coimadai – Messrs. David D. Bower, Peter Train, Malcolm Cameron, Alexander Hardie, and Hutcheson M. Allen.”

Bacchus Marsh Express, Vic, Saturday 26th June 1869, page 2.

“PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH COIMADAI.

 This place of worship was opened by Divine service being conducted in it on Sunday last by the Rev. J. Meek, of Gisborne, who preached from the text – “And the children of Israel, the priests and the Levites, and the rest of the children of the captivity, kept the dedication of this house of God with joy” – Ezra vi. 16. The sermon was highly appreciated by those who had the privilege of hearing it, and these were not few in number as many persons attended from Melton and Bacchus Marsh…”

“…The church is a neat edifice of brick, occupying a prominent position close to Mr. Bower’s residence. Its dimension are 40ft. x 20ft., with plastered ceiling and walls. At the rear are two small rooms, with fireplaces, which will be found very convenient for the use of the minister and the committee of management. There are three windows on each side filled with the usual lead lights with a stained glass border. There is also a window on each side of the entrance door and a louvre ventilator above. The angles of the building, the door jambs, and the windows, are faced with pretty freestone of the district, and altogether the building has a very neat and finished appearance…”

“…The cost of it will be about £320, of which half is contributed by grant-in-aid…”

“…On the evening of the 11th August, 1868, seven adherents of the Presbyterian Church being in the neighbourhood met, and having called you, sir to the chair, a provisional committee was nominated, whose names I may here mention were – Malcolm Cameron, Alex Hardy, Hutchinson Allen, George Greive, William McKelvie, Peter W. Train, and David D. Bower. I should state that in consequence of having the doors of the Common School closed against us for holding public worship, we felt it our immediate duty to set about erecting a house wherein we (as Presbyterians) might worship the God of our fathers. Since that date, about nine months ago, ladies and gentlemen, our respected Chairman has been holding fortnightly Sabbath services in the open air, and, I think with one exception, in the face of all weathers…”

The Bacchus Marsh Express, Vic, Saturday 13th August 1870, page 3.

“THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, COIMADAI.”
“…First annual statement of the Coimadai Presbyterian Church for 1869-70…”
“…Ferguson, Urie, & Lyon, for windows, £19…”

The Bacchus Marsh Express, Vic, Saturday 6th August 1898, page 3.

“Alkemade Bros. seem to be doing well in the lime trade. One of them recently purchased the old Presbyterian church, and is now busy taking it down and I believe it is with the intention of erecting a brick villa. We shall have no other place to hold divine service in excepting the school room, which has been kindly lent by Mr. Borlase, the teacher. Week evening services are now held there by the Rev. F. H. Gibbs, which are well attended by the young people of Coimadai. The next service is to be held on August 25th. No doubt when the warm weather comes the Rev. J. A. Stuart will also assist, as in former days…”

Additional tabloid articles of interest:

The Bacchus Marsh Express, Vic, Saturday 15th April 1905, page 4.

“COIMADAI AND THE ALKEMADE HYDRAULIC GROUND LIME…”

 

Footnotes:

[1] The Bacchus Marsh Express, Vic, Saturday 18th November 1916, page 3.

[2] Bacchus Marsh Express, Vic, Saturday 22nd August 1868, page 2.

[3] Bacchus Marsh Express, Vic, Saturday 26th June 1869, page 2.

[4] The Bacchus Marsh Express, Vic, Saturday 7th November 1868, page 2.

[5] Bacchus Marsh Express, Vic, Saturday 20th February 1869, page 3.

[6] Bacchus Marsh Express, Vic, Saturday 26th June 1869, page 2.

[7] Bacchus Marsh Express, Vic, Saturday 26th June 1869, page 2.

[8] The Bacchus Marsh Express, Vic, Saturday 13th August 1870, page 3.

[9] The Bacchus Marsh Express, Vic, Saturday 6th August 1898, page 3.

 

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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 ETERNAL GOD IS THY REFUGE & UNDERNEATH ARE THE EVERLASTING ARMS” (Deuteronomy 33:27)

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:

“I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE, JOHN XI.25” (John 11:25)

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.

“SHE HAD WROUGHT A GOOD WORK. SHE HATH DONE WHAT SHE COULD” (Mark 14: 6-8)

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;

“IN LOVING MEMORY OF MARY BUIST, DAUGHTER OF WILLIAM AND ISABEL BAYLES, DIED NOVEMBER 24th 1888.”

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.

“NEW PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, TOORAK.

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.

“DEATH OF ALDERMAN BAYLES.”

 “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).

Footnotes:

 


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1864: The Ship Inn Street Lamp, Port Albert, Victoria

The Ferguson & Urie stained glass Company crafted thousands of Ecclesiastical and Secular stained glass windows but little is known of the company’s diversity in other areas of art which extended to ornamental stained glass screens, lanterns, chancel and altar decorations and many other decorative items such as advertising signage.

In June 1864 the historical seaside town of Port Albert had a decorative gas street lamp installed outside the ‘Ship Inn’ and was reported to have had three colourful stained glass ships painted on it.

Gippsland Guardian, Vic, Friday 1st July 1864, page 2.

“The danger which existed on dark nights at the culverts at the intersection of Bay street with the main road, is much reduced by the excellent lamps at each of the hotels immediately adjoining. That at the Ship Inn deserves passing notice as a very excellent specimen of a new process of painting on glass, patented, we believe by Messrs. Ferguson and Urie of North Melbourne. The execution of the three vessels on the lamp is very good, and the colouring gay, striking and indelible.”

No extant examples of this kind of work on public street lighting by Ferguson & Urie have been found to date, although there are unconfirmed examples of lantern covers/shades at the private estates of Werribee Mansion and Rupertswood at Sunbury which are extremely likely to have been replicas of original designs by the company.

Very early Victorian street lamps were erected by private citizens and businesses and were mostly oil or candle powered. As early as 1847 gas street lighting was being erected by Innkeepers in an attempt to reduce the large number of injuries occurring to their patrons as a result of falling into ditches, gutters and culverts after leaving their establishments late at night. Call me sceptical, but I’m reasonably sure that this was not the root cause!  By the late 1850’s it became law within Victorian municipalities for Publicans and Innkeepers to keep a light burning outside their premises from dark to dawn. The city of Ballarat in Western Victoria took great pains to enforce this law and the weekly ‘cause’ list was regularly filled with publicans fronting the magistrate for “not keeping a proper light burning” outside their premises[1]. Overall public safety was the real reason for the proliferation of public lighting. The streets of early Melbourne were rife with drunkards, thieves and vandals who took every opportunity of the darkness to reap their lawless rewards. Any respectable law abiding citizen would have been taking a gamble with their lives or possessions by venturing out after dark in the early streets of Melbourne. In this day and age we’d probably call it an “Extreme Sport” which could have applied to both the victim and the perpetrator as it was a possible death or serious assault for the victim and an almost certain death sentence if you were found and convicted as the perpetrator.

[Some examples of original gas lamps used in Melbourne and country Victoria]

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The gas jets for the early street lamps were extremely inefficient and each lamp consumed up to a massive six cubic feet of gas an hour to only provide the mere equivalent light output of three candles[2]. By the late 1880’s electric light was the new up and coming invention that would eventually replace gas but the old gas lighting remained for many years past the turn of the century, thanks to the invention of the Welsbach gas mantle, which both increased light power considerably whilst reducing the amount of gas used at the same time. Many wealthy speculators re-invested heavily in the gas companies based on this new efficiency but it would inevitably succumb to electricity.

Public Street lighting had spread throughout Victoria and the other Colonies and the tiny township of Port Albert was just one of many. What is extraordinary though is that the decorated street lamp outside the ‘Ship Inn’ in Port Albert is only three and a half years after the Ferguson & Urie Company had started creating stained glass art on a commercial basis.

About Port Albert:

Port Albert is one of the earliest seaside townships in Gippsland and was discovered in 1841 as a result of the wreck of the steamer ‘Clonmel’ which struck a sandbar off Wilson Promontory, five kilometres south of Port Albert, in the early hours of January 2nd 1841[3].

Fortunately there was no loss of life but the wreck of the Clonmel is recorded as one of the events which lead to the discovery and establishment of the township of Port Albert a short time later.

When rendering assistance to the survivors, the Harbour Master, Captain Lewis, made some important observations in the vicinity of the wreck of the Clonmel and a location known as Corner Inlet which he deemed to be entirely suitable for shipping to enter[4]. This report was probably followed up via a land expedition by explorer Angus McMillan later in the same year and the first inhabitants settled in Port Albert circa May 1841.

The location where the steamer Clonmel was grounded is today called “Clonmel Island,” located about 5km south of Port Albert. A very detailed account of the grounding of the Clonmel was recorded by a Mr. D. C. Simson in early January 1841 as follows:

The Courier, Hobart, Tas, Tuesday 19th January 1841, page 2-3.

“LOSS OF THE CLONMEL.”
“The following is Mr. D. C. Simson’s narrative, who came up from the wreck in an open whale boat:-
On Wednesday afternoon, the 30th December, I embarked on board the team-ship Clonmel, Lieutenant Tollervey, commander, bound from Sydney to Port Phillip. The passengers and crew consisted of seventy-five individuals. At four P.M., rounded the south head of Port Jackson; wind from southward, blowing fresh. Next morning, 31st, found us off Jarvis’s Bay; wind still adverse with a strong head sea, the vessel progressing at an average of seven knots an hour. At daylight, the 1st January, Cape Howe bore W.S.W. of us; in the course of the morning sighted Ram Head, and took a fresh departure, steering for Wilson’s Promontory. The wind was now fair with smooth sea, and our course S.W. ½ W.; the wind and weather continuing favourable during the day and night. A little after 3 A.M., of 2nd January, all the passengers were startled by the ship striking heavily. On reaching the deck I discovered breakers a-head; the captain, who had been on deck during the whole of the middle watch, giving orders to back astern, and doing all in his power to rescue the ship from her perilous situation. Finding that the engines were of no avail in backing her off the bank on which we now found she had struck, orders were given to lighten her by throwing overboard cargo, &c., but without desired effect, the vessel still surging higher upon the reef. The anchors were then let go, when, after a few more bumps, she swung head to wind, taking the ground with her stern, and bedding herself, with the fall of the tide, upon the sand, rolling hard and striking occasionally. During the whole of this trying scene the most exemplary conduct was shown by the crew in obeying the orders of the captain and officers. Daylight had now made its appearance, and we found ourselves on shore on a sand spit, at the entrance of Corn Inlet, about half a mile from the beach, between which and vessel a heavy surf was rolling. It is necessary here to remark, that the course steered and the distance run, would not have warranted any person in believing us so near the shore as we actually found ourselves. The sea was smooth, the wind fair, and the vessel going at the rate of at least 10 knots an hour, and it was impossible for any navigator to have calculated upon such an inset carrying a vessel, under the circumstances above alluded to, 30 to 40 miles to leeward of her course, in eighteen hours. Captain Tollervey’s conduct had hitherto been that of a careful and watchful commander; he was on deck during the whole of the middle watch, which he himself kept, anxiously on the lookout, and was on the paddle box at the time the vessel struck, but the night proving misty, nothing could be seen beyond the length of the vessel. Had it pleased Providence to have retarded our voyage by half an hour, the calamitous event would have been avoided; but it was otherwise ordained.
Captain T., on finding all attempts to get the vessel off, by running kedges and warps out, throwing overboard cargo, &c., unavailing, and a strong sea rising with the flood tide, turned his attention to the safety of the passengers and crew. After several trips by the whale-boats first, and assisted by the quarter-boats afterwards, every soul was landed in safety by 2 p.m., the captain being the last to leave the vessel. A sufficiency of sails, awnings, and lumber, was brought on shore to rig out tents for all hands; and everybody set to work to form an encampment. In a short time the ladies and females were comfortably housed, having beds placed for them in a weatherproof tent; the male passengers and crew were equally accommodated by means of spair [sic] sails and awnings brought from the ship, and we found ourselves at sundown as well provided for as we under the circumstances could desire. A sufficiency of provisions, consisting of live stock, hams, bread, flour, biscuit, rice, tea, sugar, wines, and beer, had been landed during the forenoon, to keep the whole party for about ten days; water was found in abundance by digging, but was rather brackish to the taste. Captain T. now brought order into the chaotic mass, by establishing watches, previously haranguing the passengers and crew, explaining to them the stronger necessity which existed under their unfortunate circumstances for discipline and punctual obedience of orders, than would have been deemed necessary on board of his noble vessel had she been afloat. Universal assent was given to his exhortation, proper watches appointed, provisions, &c., stowed under a boat turned upside down, to guard them as well from petty depredations as from the weather, sentinels being posted in all directions round the encampment, who were relieved every two hours. When order was thus established and provisions distributed for supper, Captain T. and myself laid down in the tent and talked the events of the day over. The anxiety of mind and fatigue of body which our worthy commander must have undergone during that eventful day, were scarcely visible, either in his manner or appearance, whilst we were now quietly discussing the means of getting assistance brought to us. He agreed with me that is would be desirable for a boat to be sent to Melbourne for relief, and having obtained his consent to head the party, I had no trouble in finding a crew of five volunteers to join me in the undertaking. One of my fellow passengers, Mr. Edwards, of the firm of Messrs Edwards and Hunter, also volunteered to join us, and the next morning, amidst the cheers of our fellow sufferers, we were launched from the beach by them in a whale boat. We proceeded in the first instance to the vessel to lay in a store of provisions, not wishing to deprive those on shore of any portion of their scanty stock. Owing to the very heavy surf which was rolling on the beach, we were nearly two hours before we reached our ill-starred ship, being every moment in danger of swamping. The scene which now opened on ascending the deck, was harassing in the extreme; a few hours before, this stately vessel had been cleaving the waters, buoyant, like its living inmates, with life and hope – now an immovable wreck; her cabins that had a short time before been the picture of cleanliness and order, now one mass of confusion, and strewed with luggage and lumber of all descriptions; however, as our time was short, we supplied ourselves with such provisions as came within our reach, and after hoisting the Union Jack to the main-mast upside down we shoved off an committed ourselves to the care of a merciful Providence. At eight a.m., the 3rd instant, we took our departure outside the bank, steering for Sealer’s Cove. Our boat was manner by five seamen, and besides oars we had a small lug-sail made out of the awning; Mr. Edwards and myself made up the number to seven. Our provisions consisted of biscuit, a ham, a breaker of water, three bottles of wine, 12 of beer, and one of brandy; of the latter article I would not take more, dreading its effects upon the crew; the small quantity I took, however, I found very beneficial administered to them in minute portions.
Shortly after leaving the Clonmel the wind came from the westward; we were obliged to down sail and pull, and after six hours’ vain struggling against the wind to reach the mainland, we were under the necessity of running for one of the seal islands, where we found a snug little cove, which we entered, and after refreshing the crew by a three hours’ rest and hearty meal, we once more pulled for the mainland and reached Sealer’s Cove about midnight, where we landed, cooked our supper, and passed the remainder of the night in the boat which we anchored in deep water. We closed our eyes grateful to the Providence which had that day watched over us. At half past three a.m. on the 4th instant, I started three men on shore to get the breaker filled with water; they had scarcely filled them and brought them down to the beach, when I observed the natives coming down upon us; I hurried them on board and got under weigh, the wind blowing hard from the eastward at the time. After a severe pull of four hours we were at last enabled to weather the southern point of the cove to hoist sail and run for Wilson’s Promontory, which we rounded at 10 a.m., the sea running very high. The crew ever since we left the scene of our shipwreck behaved remarkably well, being perfectly satisfied with the scanty allowance which I put them as well as myself and fellow passenger upon, who in this trying time kept up spirits and assisted me in cheering on the men. At 8 p.m. we brought up in a small bay at the eastern entrance of Western Port; we were glad to get on shore to stretch our wearied limbs. After a refreshing night’s repose on the sandy beach we started the next morning at the break of day, happy in finding ourselves so near the end of our voyage. Having a strong and steady breeze from the eastward we sailed along very fast before it, although we were in imminent danger of being swamped, the sea having risen very considerably and breaking over us repeatedly. At 2 p.m. we were abreast of the Port Phillip Heads, but to our extreme mortification when within a mile of being in a secure harbour we found the strong ebb tide created such a ripple and so much broken water that I did not consider it prudent to run over it. We were, therefore, obliged to keep the boat’s head to winward from that time until the flood-tide would make; we were in this tantalizing situation for four hours, when to our inexpressible relief and joy we saw a cutter making for the heads, and bearing down upon her, found her to be Sisters, Captain Mulhall, to whose hospitable reception I cannot do sufficient justice. He took our boat in tow and ourselves on board, and landed us at William’s Town at 11 p.m.; having thus 63 hours from the time we left the ship to the time we landed at the beach. I cannot conclude this narrative without expressing my high sense of the extreme good conduct of the men who accompanied me on this voyage. Not a murmur escaped them, though continually wet and working hard during the whole passage.
Mr. Edwards, on finding himself in safety, was attacked by a spasmodic affection of the heart, which gave me much uneasiness, but from which I hope, by the kind treatment of his Melbourne friends, he will soon recover. The crew suffered much from over exertion and wet, occasioning in some cases dysentery. I suffered much in my eyes and face from constant exposure to the sun and salt water.
It was so early in the morning when I started, and I was so much hurried in making my arrangement, that I could not bring with me a correct list of the passengers on board; it is, however, satisfactory to know that no lives were lost, or bodily injury sustained whilst I was there. The mails were landed in safety, but I did not consider it prudent to bring them away with me.

Since the above was in type we have ascertained the following additional particulars:- Amongst the passengers were Mr. and Mrs. Walker, (Mrs. W. is daughter of Mr. Blaxland, M.L.C., and the present is the second ship wreck she has suffered;) Mr. Goodwin, (of the firm of Hamilton and Goodwin of this town,) to whom one-half of the cargo belonged; Mr. Robinson, of the Union Bank, having in his charge £3,000 of the banks notes, received at Sydney. The whole has been lost and is supposed to have been stolen – the Bank of course will sustain the loss; Mr. and Mrs. Cashmore, newly married, and bringing a large quantity of goods for the new establishment intended to be immediately opened at the corner of Collins and Elizabeth-streets. There were on board 300 tons of coals and 200 tons general cargo. At the time Mr. Simson [sic] left, her false keel and part of the sheathing was floating about the vessel, but she was not making any water, and he is of the opinion that should the weather continue moderate, she would be got off. When she first struck her rate of speed was upwards of 10 miles an hour. We are very sorry to have to add that the firemen, and some others, acted in a most disgraceful manner. – Port Phillip Herald, Jan 8.”

The Sydney Monitor & Commercial Advertiser, NSW, Monday 25th January 1841, page 2.

“The Revenue Cutter ‘Prince George,’ was dispatched on Friday, to the scene of the ‘Clonmel’s’ disaster, to render assistance towards saving that noble vessel.”

The Sydney Monitor & Commercial Advertiser, NSW, Wednesday 3rd February 1841, page 2.

“THE CLONMEL.- The ‘Sisters’ and ‘Will Watch’ have both returned from the ‘Clonmel’ with the passengers and part of the crew of that ill-fated vessel…”

External Links (about the wreck of the Clonmel):

History of the Clonmel:

http://www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/heritage/maritime/shipwrecks/shipwreck-stories/clonmel

Artefacts recovered from the Clonmel:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/heritage_victoria/sets/72157607371474539/

Footnotes:

[1] The Star, Ballarat, Vic, Wednesday 6th April 1859, page 2.

1874: St John’s Anglican Church, Ballan, Victoria.

The foundation stone of St John’s Anglican Church in Ballan was laid by Juliet Vivian Lyon (nee Anderson) in 1861. Thirteen years after that historical event Juliet died and in late 1874 a stained glass window was erected in her memory in  the chancel of St John’s. The window was made by the Colonial stained glass craftsmen Ferguson & Urie of North Melbourne.

Photos taken 10th April 2011.

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Juliet was born at Norfolk Island on the 10th Feb 1839, the daughter of the decorated army officer Joseph Anderson (1790-1877) and Mary Campbell. Her father Joseph was was stationed as commandant of the Norfolk Island Penal Colony from March 1834 to February 1839. One of his first duties on Norfolk Island was to dispense the punishment for the Norfolk Island Prisoner revolt in 1834 in which thirteen of the twenty-nine convicted prisoners were executed.

Juliet married pastoralist Charles Hugh Lyon (1826-1905)[1] at St Paul’s church in Melbourne on the 30th December 1859[2] . They settled at Hughe’s ‘Ballanee’ estate at Ballan where they had five known children; Clara, Lily Mary, Violet Mary, Vivian Hugh and Charles Gordon.

In 1861 Juliet had the honour of laying the foundation stone of St John’s Anglican Church in Ballan. Very little information is known of this event other than Juliet had laid its foundation stone as mentioned on her memorial stained glass window, and the obscure mention that on the 29th January 1862 the Church was reported as being near completion[3].

Juliet died at her father’s residence ‘Fairlie-house’ in South Yarra on the 16th of March 1874, aged 35[4]. She was buried with her parents, Joseph and Mary Anderson, in the St Kilda cemetery on the 17th March 1874 and her husband Hugh was also buried them in 1905.

The Ferguson & Urie stained glass window was erected to her memory in St John’s, thirteen years after she had laid its foundation stone.

The two-light stained glass window depicts ‘Faith & Hope’;

The left lancet depicts an angel at the top carrying a banner with the words ‘HALLELUJIA’. Below is the depiction of Faith carrying a cross with her right hand held towards heaven. The text below the figure is ‘HAVE FAITH IN GOD’ and below this is another angel carrying a banner with the text; ‘BLESSED ARE THE DEAD’

The right lancet depicts an angel at the top carrying a banner with the words ‘PRAISE THE LORD’. Below is the depiction of Hope with the ships anchor and below this is another angel carrying a banner with the text; ‘WHICH DIE IN THE LORD’

Across the base of both windows is the memorial text:

‘IN MEMORY OF JULIET VIVIAN LYON WHO LAID THE FOUNDATION STONE OF THIS CHURCH IN 1861.’

The Australian News for Home Readers, Vic, Saturday 18th March 1865, page 7.

BALLAN St John's 98c

“EPISCOPAL CHAPEL AT BALLAN,

The neat little building, shown in the engraving, is the newly erected Episcopal Chapel, at Ballan, a distance of about sixty miles from Melbourne. The building has been raised solely by the exertions of the congregation, and is a pleasing instance of the progress of Christianity in the provincial districts of Victoria. The chapel belongs to the Gothic order of architecture, and is commodious enough to meet the requirements of the Episcopalians of Ballan. The nave is 57 feet by 25 feet in extent, and chancel 10 feet 3 inches by 21 feet.”

Juliets’ husband Charles died at ‘Ballanee’ estate at Ballan on the 13th February 1905 aged 79[5].

In the historical engraving depicting St John’s from 1865 it shows  a ‘Pugin’ type bell-cote at the west end and a small side building at the east end which is presumably a vestry. Neither of these exist to this day.

The left lancet of the Ferguson & Urie window which depicts ‘Faith’ is taken from a famous oil painting by Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) and replicated in a stained glass window by Thomas Jervaise at Holy Trinity, Fareham, Hampshire, England. There are three other known instances of this depiction of ‘Faith’ in Ferguson & Urie windows which are located at All Saints, South Hobart; Christ Church, Hawthorne; St Mark’s, Remuera, New Zealand.

In 1883 another Ferguson & Urie window was erected in St John’s to the memory of Rebecca Mary O’Cock. See: 10-03-1883: St John’s Church, Ballan, Victoria.

Location: Simpson Street Ballan

Footnotes:

1870: St Patrick’s Catholic Church, Kilmore, Victoria.

In 1869-70 a large four light stained glass window “considered one of the best specimens that ever left the manufactory of Ferguson and Urie” was erected in the liturgical east wall of St Patrick’s Catholic Church at Kilmore in Victoria. The window was crafted in Curzon Street North Melbourne by the Ferguson & Urie Stained Glass Company and depicts the Nativity, Baptism, Crucifixion and Resurrection.

Construction of St Patrick’s began in 1856 and the foundation stone was laid on the 23rd August 1857 by Bishop James Alipius Goold. The church was built to the designs of brothers Joseph Aloysius Hansom  & Charles Francis Hansom and was completed in 1860. It was dedicated on the 8th July 1860[1] and remaining works were completed by architect William Wardell in 1871.

Photos taken 14th December 2013.

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GLIMPSES OF NORTH EASTERN VICTORIA, AND ALBURY NEW SOUTH WALES, Rev. William Mason Finn, 1870, page 6.

“..Father Branigan is a native of Drogheda, Ireland, studied in the famous college of Salamanca, and was ordained in Melbourne, June 1858. This rev. gentleman is still the senior priest of Kilmore, and has evinced a warm zeal for the noble people entrusted to his guardianship. During the last twelve months he has added to St. Patrick’s Church a splendid chancel, which contains three altars; over the central, or High Altar, a stained glass window of large dimensions, representing many episodes in the life of our Redeemer, is placed. This window is considered one of the best specimens that ever left the manufactory of Ferguson and Urie, of Melbourne…”

The window depicts four scenes in the life of Christ being: the Nativity, Baptism, Crucifixion and Resurrection. A reference to a chapter and verse from the bible is recorded beneath each of the four scenes:

NATIVITY – “St Luke 2-7”
(And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn)

BAPTISM – “St Mark 1-10”
(And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him)

CRUCIFIXION – “St John 19-26”
(When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!)

RESURRECTION – “St Matthew 28-6”
(He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay)

In June 1894 a prolific tabloid writer known as “The Vagabond” gave his own vision of the window:

“…The stained glass window representing scenes in the life of Christ reflects the sun’s rays, which shine on the bowed heads of the daughters of Kilmore…”[2]

Fr. Michael Branigan (1834 – 1870)

The concept for a stained glass window to beautify the east end of the church is reported to have come from the Reverend Michael Branigan, parish priest of Kilmore from 1861 to 1870.

Michael Branigan was born at Oldbridge, on the Boyne, near the town of Drogheda, Ireland, in 1834[3]. At the age of 24 he arrived in Melbourne aboard the “White Star”[4] on the 4th September 1857[5].

He was ordained at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne on the 20th June in 1858[6] by the Bishop of Melbourne, James Alipius Goold and was appointed parish priest at Kilmore after the death of the Reverend Timothy O’Rourke who died on the 18th January 1861[7].

J. A. Maher 1869-1940, The Tale of a Century – Kilmore 1837-1937, Page 86.

“…In 1856 the movement to build the large and commodious Gothic church (St. Patrick’s of the present day) was inaugurated by Father O’Rourke. The foundation stone was laid on 23rd August, 1857. Beneath the stone was placed a bottle containing on parchment a Latin inscription of which the following is a translation: “The first stone of this church, dedicated to God under the patronage of St. Patrick, in Kilmore, in the province of Victoria, was laid by James Alipius Goold, Bishop of the Diocese, on the 23rd day of August, 1857 in the pontificate of Pope Pius IX, and in the reign of Her Most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria, and during the administration of this Government by His Excellency Sir Henry Barkly, K.C.B.” The church was dedicated on 8th July, 1860. After Father O’Rourke’s death on the 18th January, 1861, Father Branigan was appointed to the charge of Kilmore. Father Branigan arrived in Australia in 1857. For a time he acted in the capacity of assistant priest at Keilor, later coming to Kilmore as curate under father O’Rourke. Afterwards he was temporarily in charge of the infant parish at McIvor (subsequently Heathcote). Then came the more important appointment as parish priest at Kilmore. This young priest, who did not enjoy robust health, devoted himself unsparingly to the welfare of his flock over what was still a very extensive parish. Various schools were opened and St. Patrick’s Church was practically completed whilst father Branigan was in charge. As a matter of fact the solemn opening ceremony at the church took place in March 1871, just nine months after the death of father Branigan (9th June, 1870).”[8]

A short time after the erection of the Ferguson & Urie window (c.1869-70), the Reverend Branigan became seriously ill and on the 9th of June 1870 the local Kilmore tabloid reported that he was improving:

“We are glad to be able to inform our readers that the Rev M Branigan, who has been dangerously ill for the past eight or nine days, has experienced a change for the better, and hopes are entertained that he will soon be convalescent.”[9]

Unfortunately this was a rather premature report by the Kilmore Free Press as Fr. Branigan died at the Presbytery at 4.30 p.m. on the same day! His last words were reported as having been “Oh, poor Ireland![10] He was only 36 years old.

On the 10th of July 1870 a meeting was held in St Patrick’s school room to discuss the erection of an altar in the church which was to be a joint memorial to Fr. O’Rourke and Fr. Branigan[11]. In March 1873 it was reported that the altar was “…on its way to these shores from the home country…” which I presume was Ireland. The entire cost for the erection of the altar would be in the vicinity of £700[12].

The altar was consecrated on the 31st August 1873 by Bishop James Alipius Goold and in anticipation of a large crowd for the occasion; admission to the church was gained by ticket only[13].

Significant tabloid transcriptions:

The Argus, Melbourne, Vic, Friday 10th June 1870, page 5.

“KILMORE, THURSDAY.

The Rev. Michael Branigan, Roman Catholic clergyman, who, as pastor here for the last nine years, was much respected, died this morning at half-past 4. His remains will be interred in a vault at St. Patrick’s Church, Kilmore, to-morrow.”

Bendigo Advertiser, Vic, Saturday 11th June 1870, page 2.

“DEATH OF THE REV MICHAEL BRANIGAN, OF KILMORE.- From the Kilmore Free Press we learn of the death of the Rev Michael Branigan, of St. Patrick’s, Kilmore, which melancholy event took place at the presbytery this (Thursday) morning, at half-past four o’clock, after having been confined to his bed for a period of eight days. As a gentleman, Father Branigan commanded the respect of those with whom he came in contact, whilst as a clergyman his zeal in the performance of his sacred duties, at all times of a most arduous nature, in consequence of the large circuit under his control, was of a marked character, he being more frequently found at all hours of the day and night seeking out the abodes of those stricken down with sickness or disease, for the purpose of administering the consolations of religion, than attending to the wants of a constitution fast becoming a wreck to fatigue and exposure he was but ill-adapted to endure. His was an existence of self-sacrifice, and his own life was to him as nothing when compared with the eternal salvation of the many souls over which he was appointed guardian. What he gave to the poor, and those who appealed to him for aid, was given with the utmost free will, and his deeds in this respect, though numerous, were never made known by himself, and would die with him had the recipients of his bounty not frequently openly expressed their gratitude. The late Rev Michael Branigan was born in the historic hamlet of Oldbridge, on the Boyne, near the town of Drogheda, in the year 1834, which left him only thirty-six years at the time of his demise. The immediate cause of his death was inflammation of the bowels, brought on by exposure to cold in the discharge of his up-country duties. He died calm and resigned, having been fortified with the sacraments of that church of which in life he was such an ornament. He was to be buried yesterday (Friday) in a vault prepared for him in the church. He was, we understand, left by his will what he possessed to the cause of charity.”

The Bacchus marsh Express, Vic, Saturday 18th June 1870, page 4.

“DEATH OF THE REV. MICHAEL BRANIGAN.- The Kilmore Free Press announces the decease of this clergyman of the Roman Catholic Church, on Thursday morning, from inflammation of the bowels, brought on by exposure to cold in the discharge of his country duties. On the 20th June, 1858, the Rev. M. Branigan was ordained priest in St. Patrick’s Cathedral by the Right Rev, the Bishop of Melbourne. He was then appointed as second priest in Keilor. Here he remained for some time, when he was transferred to Kilmore as junior priest, to act with the late lamented Father O’Rourke. A change of pastors then took place at McIvor, when Father Branigan was nominated to the vacancy. Since he assumed the pastorate of Kilmore many schools have been opened, and the improvements just made at the church speak of his zeal. On Friday, after the Requiem mass, the mortal remains of father Branigan will be interred in a vault already prepared in the church. He has, we understand, left by his will what he possessed to the cause of charity.”

Kilmore Free Press, Vic, Thursday 23rd June 1870, page 3.

“We are informed that the last words spoken by the late Rev M Branigan, of St. Patrick’s Kilmore, were “Oh, poor Ireland!” During life he took a deep interest in all questions connected with the land of his birth, and it is pleasing, as showing a pure spirit of patriotism and love, that his mind during the last solemn moments of his existence, reverted to a country, the welfare of which he had always so much at heart.”

Kilmore Free Press, Vic, Thursday 14th July 1870, page 2.

“A meeting of subscribers to the memorial for the late Rev. M. Branigan was held on the 10th instant in St Patrick’s Schoolroom – the Rev. Robert Meade occupying the chair. A discussion ensued as to the advisability of coupling the name of the late rev. T. O’Rourke with that of the Rev. M. Branigan upon the memorial altar which it is proposed to erect, but nothing definite was arrived at. We are certain that those of the subscribers who had the pleasure of knowing the late Rev. T. O’Rourke would be pleased that the name should be coupled with the memorial, whilst it is evident that many persons subscribed to the undertaking, knowing nothing of Father O’Rourke solely with a view of showing their high appreciation of Father Branigan. Perhaps, if a general meeting of subscribers was called, and expression of opinion could be elicited which would meet with the views of all parties.”

Kilmore Free Press, Vic, Thursday 6th March 1873, page 2.

“We are in a position to state that the memorial altar, subscribed for some time ago, to perpetuate the memories of the late Rev. Fathers O’Rourke and Branigan, is now on its way to these shores from the home country, where it has been constructed. The contract price for what really must be a grand monument was £550, and freight and cost of erection in the church of St. Patrick’s, Kilmore, which it is intended to ornament, will, it is contemplated bring the amount up to £700. The work, however, is one of which people here may be proud, and there could be no more fitting monument to commemorate the zeal and devotion of the reverend gentlemen who did so much for religion in this quarter.”

Points of interest:

In 1868 a very similar window by Ferguson & Urie was erected at St John’s Church in Toorak. See: 26-06-1868: St. John’s Church, Toorak, Melbourne, Victoria.

Fr. Branigan’s successor to the Kilmore Parish was the Rev Michael Farrelly (c.1822-1906). A three light memorial window was erected in his memory on the right side of the east wall in the “St Joseph’s Chapel” in St Patrick’s in 1908. This window was made by Melbourne stained glass craftsman William Montgomery(1850-1927). See: 1908: St Patrick’s Catholic Church, Kilmore, Victoria.

Acknowledgements:

My thanks to the Rev. Grant O’Neill of St Patrick’s Kilmore, 14th Dec 2013.

Footnotes:

[5] Public Record Office Victoria, Fiche 131, Page 013 (surname spelt ‘Brannigan’)

[8] James Alipius Maher 1869-1940, “The Tale of a Century – Kilmore 1837-1937”, Page 86.