Anglican Cathedral Hall, Christ Church | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Anglican Cathedral Hall, Christ Church

Item details

Name of item: Anglican Cathedral Hall, Christ Church
Other name/s: Horbury Hunt Hall
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Religion
Category: Church Hall
Location: Lat: -32.9297635521 Long: 151.7801720930
Primary address: 52A Church Street, Newcastle, NSW 2300
Parish: Newcastle
County: Northumberland
Local govt. area: Newcastle
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Awabakal
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT1 DP198891
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
52A Church StreetNewcastleNewcastleNewcastleNorthumberlandPrimary Address
Church StreetNewcastleNewcastleNewcastleNorthumberlandAlternate Address
Wolf StreetNewcastleNewcastleNewcastleNorthumberlandAlternate Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Anglican Diocese of NewcastleReligious Organisation 

Statement of significance:

Horbury Hunt Hall is a significant tangible reminder of the 1868 Newcastle Cathedral project. It played an essential part in accommodating the Anglican community in the period between the dismantling of the old Christ Church and the erection of the current Christ Church Cathedral. For 18 years Horbury Hunt Hall was the Cathedral of the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle. However, Horbury Hunt Hall is not only significant for its role in the construction of Cathedral, but also for the history it reveals of its own construction. The contrasting designs of the exterior by Hunt and the interior by Menkens provide pertinent evidence of Hunt's dismissal by Selwyn before the completion of the building. Horbury Hunt Hall is regionally significant for its associations with the Anglican Diocese. It is locally significant for its use by the Cathedral parish and Newcastle Grammar School, and its location in The Hill area of Newcastle. Horbury Hunt Hall remains an invaluable source of history and is integral to the curtilage of Christ Church Cathedral and the saga of the construction of both buildings. Most of all Horbury Hunt Hall is significant for its design and clear associations with the architect John Horbury Hunt. It is therefore considered of high state significance.
Date significance updated: 08 Mar 17
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.

Description

Designer/Maker: John Horbury Hunt
Construction years: 1878-1878
Physical description: Northern Elevation - Walls:
Original Hall 1884, Porch 1945. Brickwork. Mortar and brickwork of original hall in very poor condition with extensive fretting and missing and damaged bricks in the stringer course.
Ceiling: Porch 1945. Tongue and groove timber boards. In good condition.
Floors: Porch 1945. Ceramic tiles - good condition.
Door: Porch 1945: Double entry timber doors - original 1945 door hardware has been replaced with panic bar which caused damage to door as well as usage.
Windows: Original Hall 1884. Windows and frames all appear in good condition.
Porch 1945: 4 panel glazing timber: all in good condition.
Barge Boards and Timber Strapwork: Original Hall 1884 - Porch 1945. Timber appears to be freshly painted and in good condition.
Eaves: Original Hall/Porch. Tongue & groove timber boards with paint finish. Eaves lining is in good condition, as is the painted finish.
Stairs: 1945. Concrete - Fair to good condition.

Western Elevation - Walls and Structure:
Original Hall 1884/Porch 1945/ Brickwork. Mortar and brickwork of the original hall in very poor condition, with extensive fretting with missing and damaged bricks in the stringer courses, resulting from the removal of downpipe from the northern end of the 'nave' roof. There is evidence of concrete patch repairs on the lower courses of the aisle walls. Extensive damage to sill brickwork. The condition of the western wall is at its worst on the external wall of the store/change, with extensive fretting loss of bricks from courses and substantial deterioration of the mortar.
Clerestory 1884. Timber shingles. Good condition.
Doors: Opening - Original 1884. Double exit door in good condition. Door and Toplight inserted 1945. Double Door in good condition but cracking above door at the point of the arch.
Windows: 1945. Timber framed. Lower level windows appear to be in fair to good condition. Six panel pointed arch window in poor to fair conditions, signs of cracking in the frame and rotting of the sill timber.
Eaves: Good condition.
Fascia c.1945. Painted fibre cement sheet. Good condition as recently painted.
Stairs: Concrete. Good condition.
Plumbing/Roof elements. Copper downpipes and guttering. Guttering in good condition with some minor corrosion occurring to joints. Porch guttering in poor condition with substantial dents and minor corrosion. Downpipe is in good condition but is not fixed to the gutter or drain.

Southern Elevation - Walls and structure:
Original Hall 1884. Brickwork. Cracking has occurred. There is also evidence of repair work that was undertaken. Extension 1945. Mortar and brickwork in the extension is in a poor condition with a substantial amount of inconsiderate concrete patching repair work and brick replacement.
Eaves. Extension 1945. Tongue & Groove timber boards with paint finish. Eaves lining in good condition. There is cracking in some of the timber boards and a missing trim between the brickwork and eave, exposing the top plate. Barge Boards. 1945 Painted timber. Good condition.
Fascia 1945. Painted Fibre cement sheet. Good condition.
Doors 1945. Good condition.
Windows: Original Hall 1884. 3 timber framed lancet windows. In good condition.
Extension 1945. Fixed glass window. Sill is in poor condition, brickwork and concrete sill is missing.

Eastern Elevation - Walls and Structure:
Brickwork. Mortar and brickwork of original hall in very poor condition with extensive fretting with missing and damaged bricks in the stringer courses.
Double Exit door. In good condition.
Windows. Fair to good condition. Eaves. In good condition.
Fascia. Good condition.
Stair. Fair to good condition.
Plumbing/Roof elements: Original Hall - in good condition. Porch 1945 - Porch guttering is in a poor condition, with substantial dents and minor corrosion.

Auditorium - Structure 1884: Good condition.
Walls 1945. Fair to good condition. Signs of paint finish cracking/deterioration especially below dado rail. Generally good but there is damage to the rail on the Eastern wall.
Clerestory- timber panelling. Fair to good. Signs of paint fishing cracking/peeling.
Floors. Timbers located in the aisles appear in better condition then those under the main volume of the hall. Floor in this section has cracking and splitting especially at the junctions of the boards. Timber edge trim. Good condition, paint is peeling and cracked in places.
Ceiling. Fair to good condition.
Windows. Good condition.
Doors. Good condition.

Stage - Ceiling, Walls, Structure, Skirting, Floor, Door and Windows and other stairs (1884) - all in fair to good condition.

Store/Change - Ceiling, Walls, Floors all in fair to good condition.
Doors and Windows 1884. Good, minor dings. Probably stemming from the rooms use as a storage room.
Six panel pointed arch. Condition poor to fair, signs of cracking in the frame and rotting of the sill timber.

Former Vestry - Ceiling and Walls 1884. Fair to good condition.
Floor. Replaced floor, made from particle board and timber boards - these are in poor condition.
Door. Fair condition with some minor chipping at the base.

Toilet - Ceiling. Batten fixed masonite, paint finish. Good but very dirty.
Walls. Brickwork with plaster and paint finish. Poor, paint finish cracking and peeling.
Floor, concrete. Fair. There is water damage at the base of the southern wall.
Doors and Windows. Timber framed windows with paint finish. Fair condition with some cracking at the joints and paint peeling.
Services. H/C water corner basin. WC with close fitting cistern. Good with spot rust on the basin.
Other stairs - polished concrete. Fair condition.

Pantry - Ceiling, Walls, Structure, Floor, Doors and Windows, Services, Other Cupboards - all of these are in fair to good condition.

Change - Ceiling, Cornice, Walls, Skirting, Floor, Doors and Windows, Services are all in good condition.

Kitchen - Ceiling, Cornice, Wall, Skirting, Floor, Doors and Windows, Services and other Kitchen Cupboards are all in fair to good condition.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Restored in 2003/2004. Damage to mortar, internal plaster and stone wall has occurred since. The site is located on the southern side of Church Street, owned by the Dean and Chapter Christ Church Cathedral and managed by Newcastle Grammar School. All of the alterations and additions to Horbury Hunt Hall have impacted or compromised the interpretability of the significant fabric of the building to varying degrees. Generally, the changes have occurred for functional reasons with minimal consideration given to architectural significance. Whilst the design of the building was criticised as 'severely plain', and 'barn like' in appearance at the time of its construction, these sentiments are more a reflection of the conservative Victorian taste of the public, than a true acknowledgement of the technical innovation of Hunt's design. Joan Kerr describes Horbury Hunt Hall as being a mixture of Hunt's normal style of groups of lancets, single stepped buttresses, string courses and simplate tracery with late Victorian details like shingled clerestory walls, wooden mullioned and transomed domestic windows in clerestory and proch, an American stick style interior arcade and a low pitched roof to nave and butting aisles.
Date condition updated:11 Jan 06
Current use: Public and school use
Former use: church

History

Historical notes: The ground on which Christ Church Cathedral stands has been the site of at least one other church: Christ Church, built in 1817-18. Unlike the rushed construction of Christ Church, the building of Christ Church Cathedral was a long and complicated process; it was exactly one hundred years from the beginning of construction to its consecration. John Horbury Hunt was the principal architect involved in the project, with other prominent Newcastle architects also contributing to its design.

The first known church on this site was built on the order of Governor Lachlan Macquarie to provide religious services for the civil and military officials and convicts who were posted there. The population of Newcastle had swelled following the closure of Norfolk Island in 1814, making this need more pressing.

Probably because of a combination of the haste of Christ Church's construction on a sandy site, the use of salt-impregnated sandstone quarried locally, and the largely unskilled convict labour employed, the strong winds which constantly buffeted its hilltop location so close to the sea soon exposed structural flaws in the foundations. Several years after its completion, the upper tower and the steeple were taken down because of instability. It remained in this form for a period of 43 years. With the establishment of the Diocese of Newcastle in 1847, Newcastle officially became a city, Christ Church became a Cathedral, and the first bishop, William Tyrrell (1848-1879) was appointed.

During the second half of the 1850s, with coal production greatly increasing, there was a doubling of the population of Newcastle and it was decided that there was a need for a new or expanded Cathedral. In the 1860s, Bishop Tyrrell argued that there was no need for a new building, and instead advocated an addition to the existing church. However, the Diocese disagreed and in 1868 ran a competition for the design of a new Cathedral. The requirements were that contestants design an establishment to be built of stone or brick, large enough for 1000 people and at a maximum cost of ten thousand pounds. The winners were Terry and Speechley from Melbourne. John Horbury Hunt, who had become one of Australia's most significant ecclesiastical architects during the last third of the nineteenth century, had also entered the competition and was appointed supervising architect. After the cost of the winning design was found to have been seriously underestimated, Hunt's own plans were adopted (Murray, 1991, pp. 35-38).

Hunt was influenced by the Arts & Crafts movement with its emphasis on truth to natural materials, particularly brick and timber, and asymmetry of form. Hunt's other ecclesiastical projects include the Anglican cathedrals in Armidale (1871) and Grafton (1880) as well as many parish churches in the Hunter Valley (Reynolds, Muir and Hughes, 2002). Christ Church Cathedral was the largest and most ambitious building designed by Hunt. His design for the Cathedral was for a cruciform Victorian Academic Gothic style building with a central tower over the crossing, supporting a spire (Maitland and Stafford, 1997, pp. 62-3).

Although Hunt had completed the designs for the Cathedral in 1868, work was not started on it until 1883 and the building of the Cathedral was marked by many delays and disputes. The original Christ Church remained in use until completion of the staged demolition in 1884 (Murray, 1991, pp. 39-42).

In 1882, when the commitment to Hunt's plans was made, the Parochial Council accepted an estimate of 20,000 pounds for the erection of the walls and roof, exclusive of the tower and foundations. The decision to proceed with such an ambitious plan was an expression of confidence in the future of the Church in Newcastle.

Pro-Cathedral (south side of Church Street to the cathedral's site):
As well as the need to find money for the proposed Cathedral, there was difficulty of providing temporary accommodation during construction. This was accomplished by building a pro-Cathedral on the opposite side of Church Street to the Cathedral Site - known as Horbury Hunt Hall. This building was also to replace the old Christ Church School, which had been purchased by the Dept of Public Instruction in 1882.

While Christ Church Cathedral was being constructed, A. E. Selwyn, Dean of Newcastle commissioned Hunt to also design a Pro-Cathedral opposite Christ Church. This was used until the opening of the new Cathedral for services in 1902, and is still intact (Murray, 1991, pp. 39-42). It is listed on the State Heritage Inventory (Plan number 198891).

Hunt arrived in April 1883 to peg out the Cathedral. The existing church obstructed the pouring on one of four massive crossing piers for the Cathedral. Hunt wanted to pour the four footings together to prevent differential settlement. This required cutting a few feet into the old church. Selwyn refused to do this, declaring the footing could be poured at any time. Selwyn was over ridden by the Bishop. These were the first of many interferences by Selwyn that Hunt would object to during construction of the two buildings. Matters worsened when Hunt wanted to proceed with the rest of the footings.

In 1895, the relationship between Hunt, Selwyn and the builder, John Straub, had become so bad that both Hunt and Straub were dismissed. By this stage, 27 years after Hunt had sketched the original design for the Cathedral, it was far from complete (Murray, 1991, p. 48; Reynolds, Muir and Hughes, 2002, pp. 74-77). Even so, Hunt's attention to the construction of the foundations and ensuring that brick perpends were tight and mortar-filled preserved the Cathedral's walling relatively unaffected nearly a century later when it suffered severe damage during the 1989 Newcastle earthquake (Reynolds, Muir and Hughes, 2002, p. 77). The full extent of Hunt's designs was not realised until 1979 with the raising of the tower, albeit without the spire Hunt had intended.

In 1900 John Francis Stretch replaced the late Selwyn as Dean and he appointed John Hingstone Buckeridge as the Cathedral architect. Buckeridge was responsible for overseeing the temporary roofing of the half-built nave. The Cathedral was dedicated on 21st November 1902 during a service held in the presence of the Governor, Sir Harry Rawson, and the Premier, Sir John See (EJE Architecture, 1994, p. 53).

There was great consternation in 1906-7 when severe mine "creep" in The Hill area of Newcastle damaged the foundations and brickwork of the western end of the newly-occupied Cathedral. For a time it was feared that this part of the building might have to be demolished. Repairs were required and the cost had to be met by parishioners (Murray, 1991, pp. 60-1).

The next architect assigned to work on the Cathedral project was Frederick George Castleden, prominent in Newcastle as the designer of many houses and commercial buildings in the region. Castleden's firm supervised the completion of the Cathedral between 1909 and 1928. In 1911, the ambulatory around the east end of the church and the Tyrrell Chapel was built and in 1912 the eastern walls were completed and roofed and the east window finished with yet more stained glass from the firm of Kempe & Co.

After the installation of World War I memorials, Cathedral building continued. In 1928 the Castleden firm completed further work on the arches of the church and the walls, closely based on Hunt's original designs (Freeland, 1970, p. 102). However, there were some slight departures, these being omission of the spire and addition of a castellated parapet (Reynolds, Muir and Hughes, 2002, p. 77). In 1979 the transepts and the bell tower were raised by John Sara, of Castleden & Sara, returning to Hunt's original concept for the tower (EJE Architecture, 1995, p.14).

During the early 1980s the Cathedral was further embellished with numerous works by Newcastle artists, including banners, a terracotta and wood crucifix, a tapestry of the Ten Virgins and a triptych depicting the legend of St Nicholas.
After over 80 years of use, the Cathedral was finally consecrated by Bishop Holland on 20th November 1983. (Maitland and Stafford, 1997, pp. 62-3).

The earthquake in 1989 at first appeared to have damaged the Cathedral only superficially. However, it was soon realised that the building had been significantly harmed, and in need of restoration and refurbishment. This was undertaken by Dean Graeme Lawrence and architect B.J. Collins of EJE Architecture. Work began in 1995 and was completed in 1997 (Collins and Jordan, 2009, p. 14).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Creating landmark structures and places in urban settings-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Building in response to natural landscape features.-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Designing in an exemplary architectural style-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Designing structures to emphasise their important roles-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Religion-Activities associated with particular systems of faith and worship Practising Anglicanism-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with John Horbury Hunt, architect-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Bishop William Tyrell, Anglican bishop of the Hunter Valley-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with J.J. Falconer, Superintendent of the Bank of Australasia-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with A.E. Selwyn, Dean of Newcastle (Anglican Parish)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Horbury Hunt Hall holds significant importance for its association with the architects John Horbury Hunt and Frederick B Menkens. Hunt was a very well known architect within Australia, and Menkens was well known within Newcastle. Hunt designed many significant buildings and was of enormous stature in the architectural world. Horbury Hunt Hall sits very well in Hunts broader collection of works in the Hunter Valley and the whole of NSW. It therefore has state significance by way of its association and design by John Horbury Hunt.

The Hall is additionally associated with The Rev. Arthur Selwyn, the incumbent of Christ Church from 1867 until his death in 1899. He held considerable influence over the building of the Pro-Cathedral and the current Cathedral. His life, conflicts with Hunt and his death, are an integral part of the historical significance of Horbury Hunt Hall. Selwyn was possibly the most influential player in the drama of the Cathedrals’ early history and Horbury Hunt Hall is testament to his influence and therefore hold Local significance for his association with it.

The animosity between Selwyn and Hunt is reflected in the fabric of Horbury Hunt Hall. At the time of construction it was not well received and so disliked that Hunt was dismissed and German immigrant architect Frederick B Menkens was given the task of decorating the interior. Work by Menkens in Newcastle is well known and highly regarded; as such Horbury Hunt Hall has Local significance for its association with Menkens.

The contrast between Hunt’s design for the exterior of the building, and Menkens design for the interior, provides a significant attestation to the conflicts between Selwyn as Dean of the Anglican Parish and Hunt the architect. Horbury Hunt Hall therefore holds significant for its substantiated connections with the historically important persons Selwyn, Hunt and Menkens. For its associations with Hunt alone, Horbury Hunt Hall is considered to be of State significance.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Horbury Hunt Hall has landmark qualities and is important in terms of the curtilage of the Christ Church Cathedral. During its time as the Pro-Cathedral, it held landmark qualities with its views of the whole of Newcastle. However, since the construction of the current Cathedral and the growth of Newcastle, Horbury Hunt Hall’s views of the city are considerably diminished and with it, its quality as a landmark.

Horbury Hunt Hall is architecturally important in demonstrating a high degree of creative achievement, being a pioneering example of federation arts and crafts architecture in Australia. Its aesthetic qualities are notable because the art and crafts elements of the design are in fact a precursor to the federation style. Whilst the design of the building was criticised as ‘severely plain’, and ‘barn like’ in appearance at the time of its construction, these sentiments are more a reflection of the conservative Victorian taste of the public, than a true acknowledgement of the technical innovation of Hunt’s design. Hunt was in fact 20 years ahead of the architectural style of the time with the design of Horbury Hunt Hall. It was a prelude to the arts and crafts and federation styles, which dominated, in the following century.

Horbury Hunt Hall is associated with the technical innovation of the construction of the Cathedral, however, in terms of its architectural characteristics it stands on its own merits as a building of aesthetic significance at a State level.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Horbury Hunt Hall’s use as the Pro-Cathedral is largely forgotten, overshadowed by the planning and building of the current Christ Church Cathedral. Although Horbury Hunt Hall has not enjoyed interest as close to that for the Cathedral, the ceremony for the opening was described as a success that would be long remembered in Newcastle. Horbury Hunt Hall served as the parish church until November 1902 when the current Cathedral was occupied.

In the 18 years that Horbury Hunt Hall served as the Pro-Cathedral, it was of significant importance to the Newcastle Anglican Parish. Whilst it was intended to provide temporary accommodation during the construction of the current Cathedral, it was of significant importance to the Newcastle Anglican Parish. Whilst it was intended to provide temporary accommodation during the construction of the current Cathedral, it was nonetheless a place of considerable spiritual importance for some time.

Historically, Horbury Hunt Hall is of spiritual significance to the Newcastle Anglican Parish and Diocese. It functioned as the Cathedral of the Newcastle Dioceses for 18 years as a place of worship. Therefore it played a significant role in the spiritual, social and cultural life of Newcastle. Furthermore, it has broader regional social and spiritual significance for those it served – the community and the Anglican Church.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Horbury Hunt Hall is integral to the curtilage of the Christ Church Cathedral and the Newcastle Grammar School and the story that the two site and buildings tell. It is an important reference site upon which the tangible history of the Cathedral project and the relationship of Cathedral, Parish, Diocese, and Newcastle Grammar School may be interpreted and understood.
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Recommended management:

Recommendations

Management CategoryDescriptionDate Updated
Recommended ManagementReview a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) 
Recommended ManagementPrepare a maintenance schedule or guidelines 
Recommended ManagementCarry out interpretation, promotion and/or education 

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
21(1)(b)Conservation Plan submitted for endorsementHorbury Hunt Hall (Pro-Cathedral Hall), 60 Newcomen Street, Newcastle (EJE Town Planning, March 2001) Endorsement of CMP deferred pending resolution of several matters 17 May 2002. May 17 2002
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
HERITAGE ACT 1977
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

FRANK SARTOR
Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0015602 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0015603 Jul 81 973641

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written 2005SHI Form - 2007 HIP Application
WrittenEJE Town Planning2002Conservation Plan

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5044969
File number: EF10/21362; S90/6182; HC32083


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