Gift boosts Hobart Cathedral
A new spire and an underground burial crypt will be added to Hobart's St Mary's Cathedral as part of a $6 million restoration plan.
The Mercury reports that the Tasmanian Government yesterday pledged its support for the project, with Premier Paul Lennon donating $1.5 million to the Catholic cause.
Some of the taxpayers' funds will be used to pay for the new slate roof, which has already been fitted, together with a Hardman stained-glass window behind the altar.
Other priorities include restoring the cathedral's 1890s-built organ, adding an annexe for larger gatherings, rejigging the internal layout to improve its sense of overall space and dignity, and landscaping the main entrance so it looks less like a "concrete carpark."
Mr Lennon said St Mary's had been a landmark in southern Tasmania since it opened in 1866, but it was in dire need of restoration.
The last major works were performed more than 100 years ago.
"St Mary's Cathedral has been part of the Tasmanian community for more than a century and the State Government wants to ensure it remains so for at least another 100 years," Mr Lennon said.
Fr Brian Nichols said he did not think the premier's Catholic background had anything to do with the generous donation.
"Governments all around Australia are preserving cathedrals," he said. "They are important not just as places of worship and as the centre of their Catholic diocese, but historically for the whole community as well."
Hobart's Catholic Diocese heritage officer Brian Andrews said although the cathedral was designed in 1860 by one of Australia's most famous Victorian architects, William Wardell, it got off to a shaky start.
Poor sandstone stonework and a lack of mortar slapped on by a shonky subcontractor trying to save money saw the earliest version of the cathedral literally fall apart.
It was closed to a shocked Hobart public in 1875 and almost completely dismantled before being redesigned by eminent Tasmanian architect Henry Hunter.
Generous gift helps church keep the faith (The Mercury 29/11/05)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Archdiocese of Hobart | Cathedral Parish
Sex predator's reign of terror (The Mercury 29/11/05)
29 Nov 2005