Anglican Cathedral Church of St Peter Apostle and Martyr Precinct | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Anglican Cathedral Church of St Peter Apostle and Martyr Precinct

Item details

Name of item: Anglican Cathedral Church of St Peter Apostle and Martyr Precinct
Other name/s: St. Peters Anglican Cathedral; St. Peter, Apostle & Martyr Cathedral
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Religion
Category: Cathedral
Location: Lat: 30.515104 Long: 151.665684
Primary address: 122 Rusden Street, Armidale, NSW 2350
Parish: Armidale
County: Sandon
Local govt. area: Armidale Dumaresq
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Armidale
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT100 DP869687

Boundary:

Bounded by Rusden, Faulkner, Tingcombe and Dangar Streets, Armidale
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
122 Rusden StreetArmidaleArmidale DumaresqArmidaleSandonPrimary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Armidale Anglican DioceseReligious Organisation 

Statement of significance:

The Anglican Cathedral Church of St Peter Apostle and Martyr Precinct is of state heritage significance as the first cathedral constructed in the regional colonial outpost of Armidale to serve the religious needs of the expanding settlement and population. The cathedral would also become the centre for the Diocese of Armidale and Grafton (created in 1863, this was one of the first dioceses to be established outside of Sydney or Newcastle). Today, the cathedral continues to be the centre of the Anglican Diocese of Armidale.

Built and opened for worship in 1875, the cathedral was a collaborative design by the prominent architect John Horbury Hunt and Bishop James Francis Turner. The cathedral design used expressed and unadorned brick (a common and under appreciated material at the time) to create layers of patterned courses with a single flying buttress, arching, toothing and moulded brickwork. The final achievement was an intricate, elaborate and imaginative building that was distinctly different from the traditional church form and character of the period.

While not a large building, the cathedral was the first significant brick church construction of John Horbury Hunt and is regarded as being one of his finest works. The design deliberately complicated rather than simplified the space and detailing and by celebrating the structural and decorative nature of brickwork, Hunt and Turner created a building that was "unlike no other (sic) Gothic building that existed in Australia in the 1870s" (Newall & Dawson, p1).

The cathedral is complemented by the 1892 deanery building, also designed by Hunt using the same materials and designs. This is one of the few Hunt-designed church residences in NSW.

This regional cathedral precinct is also significant as it demonstrates the religious requirements of the district and holds important and ongoing social significance for the community and Anglican congregation of Armidale and the wider Northern Tablelands district.
Date significance updated: 01 Aug 13
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, Bishop James Francis Turner
Construction years: 1871-1938
Physical description: Grounds:
The cathedral and deanery building are centrally sited on a large corner block facing Central Park and two other streets.
Broadly the grounds are grassed with mature trees.

Three rare and choice trees in the grounds are Mediterranean strawberry trees (Arbutus andrachnoides), with bright cinnamon red smooth bark: two near the main front door on the cathedral's west; one on the northern side nearer the rectory (Stuart Read, pers.comm., 17/10/2013).

Cathedral:
The Anglican Cathedral Church of St Peter Apostle and Martyr may not be the largest cathedral but it is one of John Horbury Hunt's finest works. Built in the Gothic style, distinctly different to his more common Anglo-French designs, the cathedral was a collaborative and successful early experiment in the use of expressed common brick rather than the more traditional stone material.

This delicate but complex small-scale cathedral was completed in 1875 and demonstrates Hunt's architectural style in its imaginative design and complicated but skilfully used pointing, layered courses, patterned decorations and arches and toothed lancet windows.

A broad and low proportioned building, the cathedral is finished with custom-made furnishings and ornaments designed by Bishop Turner, built and shipped from England.

Deanery:
The cathedral is complemented by the 1892 deanery building, designed by Hunt and constructed in the same Armidale Blue brick. With its arched windows and gable roof (once slate but now tile), the two-storey deanery building uses the same materials and architectural design points as the cathedral.

When the cathedral was finished in 1938 with the construction of the square tower built to Hun'ts design, the Armidale Blue brick had been exhausted by this time and a similar material was used.

In addition to the deanery, the historic Anglican cathedral precinct also includes the St Peters Church Hall, Diocesan Registry, bookshop and surrounding landscaping and fencing.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Very good condition upon inspection (18 April 2013).
Date condition updated:07 Feb 14
Modifications and dates: Hunter pipe organ:

1904, repairs to improve tone and mechanism
1978, major repair works due to water damage from overflowing roof drainage
1996 restorations - pipe work thoroughly overhauled, cleaned and repaired (missing pipes replaced); improvement of tonal condition; soundboards repaired; keyboards reconditioned; and casework repaired and repolished
2008, full service of the organ.
Current use: Place of worship
Former use: Place of worship

History

Historical notes: Religion and the establishment of places of worship have played an important role in the colonial expansion and settlement of NSW. As the boundaries of the colony expanded and settlers pushed into previously unestablished areas, the government ensured religion followed to cater for the spiritual education and morality of the settlers.

As for the Northern Tablelands region, European settlement came as early as 1832 as pastoralists searched beyond the colonial boundaries for new land on which to run their stock. At this time, the early settlers of the district were in fact illegal squatters who only gained colonial approval to work the land in 1836 with the passing of legislation recognizing the pastoralist's rights to graze (but not own) the land (for an annual fee of ten pounds).

Religion soon followed the pastoralists into the newly declared township of Armidale (established in the late 1840s) with the first formal Christian service being held in 1845 by Bishop William Broughton, on his first and only visit to Armidale. Regarded as a suitable regional centre for religious and educational services, Broughton also announced during the visit the construction of St Peter's Anglican Church, the first church for the region.

Located on the site of the existing cathedral, the small timber church was opened for worship by 1850. As the population of the Northern Tablelands district expanded, the Anglican Diocese of Grafton and Armidale (one of the first outside of Sydney or Newcastle) was established in 1863.

Following the sudden passing of the first bishop for the diocese, Reverend James Francis Turner was appointed as bishop and arrived in the parish in 1869. Bishop Turner was to maintain this post, leading the diocese, for 23 years.

Soon after arriving, it became apparent that St Peter's Anglican Church (although it had previously been extended) was unfit to accommodate the needs of the growing congregation. Being well informed on church architecture, having trained for four years at an architecture office in England before turning to theology, Turner recognised that an architect was required to address the pressing issues. Turner soon engaged John Horbury Hunt, a young (32 years) but reputable architect who, having arrived in Australia in 1863, has previously worked as Assistant Architect to Edmund Blacket, the Anglican Diocesan Architect and former Colonial Architect to NSW.

After quickly determining that extending the existing church was unrealistic, Hunt faced the specific challenge of designing a cathedral that was suited to its setting and to the needs of the congregation as opposed to the more traditional church architecture modelled on the existing churches of England and Europe.

Hunt's original concept and alternative design, both stone and in the Anglo-French style, were largely in keeping with traditional church architecture of the period. Bishop Turner rejected both of these designs. With his limited experience but keen interest, Turner worked closely with Hunt to jointly design a cathedral that was "unlike no other (sic) Gothic building that existed in Australia in the 1870s" (Newall & Dawson, p1).

Hunt was a prominent early exponent of the Arts and Crafts architectural style in Australia and had an existing interest in the decorative potential of using expressed but unadorned materials and Turner encouraged this departure from the traditional form of church buildings. Brick was selected and, although generally considered a common material used due to economic necessity rather than choice, Hunt devised a concept that skilfully incorporated intricate, elaborate and imaginative layering of patterned courses with a flying buttress, arching, toothing and moulded brickwork.

Although a small-scale cathedral, Hunt's design for the Anglican Cathedral deliberately complicated rather than simplified the space and detailing. Again, the outcome was in direct contrast to the traditional architecture of the period.

From the outset, the cathedral was going to be a challenge to construct. Local contractors were engaged and, following Hunt's meticulously detailed directions, the cathedral was completed in 1875 and opened for worship.

Set on a generously landscaped corner site, the cathedral was built of locally sourced 'Armidale Blue' brick from Saumarez, New England granite from Uralla and timber from the district. A landmark building in the Armidale township, the newly opened cathedral attracted a congregation of several hundred. Much of the fit-out and furnishing of the cathedral was designed by Bishop Turner and built to his specifications in England before being shipped to Australia and, as the railway to Armidale had not yet been developed, it is likely the furniture was received in Sydney or Newcastle before being transported over land to Armidale.

Although the cathedral was open for worship from 1875, allegedly "Bishop Turner would not allow it to be consecrated until 1886, when a 'worthy' pulpit and 'complete' flooring had been installed" (SHR Nomination, 2012).

In 1896, the Hunter Pipe Organ (constructed in 1895 by Messrs Hunter & Son in England) was installed.

Although Hunt's final design for the site incorporated a baptistry, chapel, extension of the sanctuary and central roof lantern dome, most plans remained unfulfilled due to the constrained financial position of the diocese. However, to Hunt's original designs, the deanery was completed in 1892 and the vestry and chapter house in 1910 - both in the same 'Armidale Blue' brick as the cathedral.

Hunt designed four different versions of the deanery building and the last, and most modest design, was constructed on the site of the original parsonage.

Finally, the belltower was constructed in 1938 when local builder GF Nott offered to supply the bricks free of charge. Although the 'Armidale Blue' brick had long since been exhausted, a similar brick was used to match the existing cathedral. At this time, Hunt's original 1872 timber belltower was demolished and the existing bell ('Maud') rehung in the new tower.

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 regional settings-
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 Outlying settlements-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Religion-Activities associated with particular systems of faith and worship Religious worship-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Religion-Activities associated with particular systems of faith and worship Cathedral-
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 James Francis Turner-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Anglican Cathedral Church of St Peter Apostle and Martyr Precinct is of state heritage significance as the first cathedral for the regional colonial outpost of Armidale. On the site of the very first Anglican church for the region (1850), the cathedral was constructed in 1871-75 to serve the religious needs of the growing community and to serve as the centre for the Diocese of Armidale and Grafton. The diocese had formed in 1863 and was one of the first to be established outside of the colonial settlements of Sydney and Newcastle.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The Anglican Cathedral Church of St Peter Apostle and Martyr Precinctis of state heritage significance for its association with Bishop James Francis Turner and John Horbury Hunt.

Bishop Turner was the second bishop appointed for the Anglican Diocese of Grafton and Armidale but was the first bishop to have a significant influence on the operation of the Armidale parish. Turner was well informed about church architecture and, having had his own architectural training as a youth, he worked closely with the architect John Horbury Hunt to jointly design a cathedral that was unlike any other Gothic structure in Australia at the time and a distinct departure from the form and character of traditional church architecture for the period. Bishop Turner was also responsible for custom-designing much of the furnishings for the cathedral which were built to his specifications in England before being transported to Australia.

While not a large building, this cathedral is the first significant brick church construction of John Horbury Hunt and is regarded as being one of his finest works. Hunt was a prominent early exponent of the Arts and Crafts architectural style in Australia and his use of expressed common brick, by choice rather than economic necessity, was unique for the time. The intricate and elaborate detail of the cathedral design, and his celebration of the structural and decorative nature of brickwork, has become a defining characteristic of Hunt's architectural career.

Hunt was also responsible for the design of the deanery building within the precinct which was completed in 1892 and used the same materials and architectural design features as the cathedral.

The collaboration between Hunt and Turner was an intellectual and professional relationship that was to become a long lasting and fruitful partnership. In Turner, Hunt found his ideal client and patron who would encourage his artistic freedom and creative expression. Following the construction of the cathedral, John Horbury Hunt went on to design a number of Armidale's most noted buildings.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The Anglican Cathedral Church of St Peter Apostle and Martyr Precinct is of state heritage significance for its aesthetic value.

Jointly designed by John Horbury Hunt and Bishop Turner, the architecture of the cathedral was a distinct departure from the traditional form and character of church architecture for the period and the outcome was a building that was "unlike no other (sic) Gothic building that existed in Australia in the 1870s" (Newall & Dawson, p1).

Hunt's use of expressed and unadorned common brick, by choice rather than economic necessity, was unique at the time and the final construction celebrates the structural and decorative nature of brickwork by the skilful incorporation of intricate, elaborate and imaginative layering of patterned courses with a single flying buttress, arching, toothing and moulded brickwork.

While not a large building, this cathedral is regarded as being one of John Horbury Hunt's finest works.

The cathedral is complemented by the 1892 deanery building, also designed by John Horbury Hunt using the same Armidale Blue brick material and architectural design features. This is one of the few Hunt-designed church residences in NSW.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The Anglican Cathedral Church of St Peter Apostle and Martyr Precinct is of state heritage significance for its social value to the community and congregation of Armidale and the wider Northern Tablelands district.

From its settlement in the 1830s, Armidale was regarded in the colony as a suitable centre for the provision of religious services to the expanding and wide-reaching population.

The central position of the cathedral in the Armidale township, in conjunction with the adjacent Catholic Cathedral of St Mary and St Joseph and St Pauls Presbyterian Church, forms a landmark religious precinct that has significance and value to the community.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Sited on a previously undeveloped portion of land, there is potential for further investigation of the cathedral precinct site to reveal evidence of Aboriginal occupation of the Armidale region prior to the arrival of European settlers in the 1830s.

This potential for investigation would be relevant across the Armidale district.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Although the Anglican Cathedral Church of St Peter Apostle and Martyr precinct may not be a rare example of its type in NSW, the cathedral is a unique building due to the intricate and imaginative use of expressed unadorned brick to create a building of layered patterned courses with a flying buttress, arching, toothing and moulded brickwork.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The Anglican Cathedral Church of St Peter Apostle and Martyr precinct is of state heritage significance as a representative example of a cathedral and public building designed by the prominent architect, John Horbury Hunt. A fine and unique example, the cathedral was a distinct departure from the traditional form and character of church architecture of the period and was a catalyst for later architectural use of common materials (particularly brick) in more decorative forms.
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.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
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
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act - Site specific exemptions HERITAGE ACT 1977

ORDER UNDER SECTION 57(2)
TO GRANT SITE SPECIFIC EXEMPTIONS FROM APPROVAL

Anglican Cathedral Church of St Peter Apostle and Martyr Precinct
122 Rusden Street, Armidale

SHR No. 1924

I, the Minister for Heritage, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, in pursuance of section 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, do, by this my order, grant an exemption from section 57(1) of that Act in respect of the engaging in or carrying out of any activities described in Schedule “C” by the owner, described in Schedule “B” on the item described in Schedule “A”.




The Hon Robyn Parker, MP.
Minister for Heritage


Sydney, 14 Day of January 2014


SCHEDULE “A”

The item known as the Anglican Cathedral Church of St Peter Apostle and Martyr Precinct, situated on the land described in Schedule “B”.


SCHEDULE “B”

All those pieces or parcels of land known as Lot 100 DP 869687 in Parish of Armidale, County of Sandon shown on the plan catalogued HC 2581 in the office of the Heritage Council of New South Wales.


SCHEDULE “C”

Continuing maintenance and cleaning of existing fabric, structures and fittings (such as brickwork, stonework, roof tiles and windows, including organ, pews and font) without the removal of, or damage to, the existing fabric or the introduction of new materials

Continuing repairs of existing fabric, structures and fittings (such as brickwork, stonework, roof tiles and windows, including organ, pews and font) without damage to the existing fabric or removal of significant fabric. Any minor replacement of fabric beyond further maintenance must match the existing fabric in appearance, material and method of affixing.

Continuing repainting of existing fabric, structures and fittings (such as timber and joinery and windows) without the removal of, or damage to, the existing fabric or the introduction of a new colour scheme. Repainting must not disturb or remove earlier paint layers other than that failed by chalking, flaking, peeling or blistering.

Continuing polishing of existing organ, pews and font without the removal of, or damage to, the existing fabric.

All activities for temporary change of use where such activities do not alter existing fabric or the setting of the heritage item, and are in accordance with standard conservation policies, such as temporary exhibitions and concerts.

Activities for replacing existing interpretative signage, internally and externally, to provide information on the heritage significance of the item, where such signage is consistent with the previous signage in size, form and materials or is free-standing. If interpretive signage is affixed to the built fabric, the replacement signage is to be installed using existing fixings and holes.

All activities for gardening of existing garden beds where these activities do not affect or damage existing built structures (such as retaining walls and fences); do not damage trees as scheduled in Ian McKenzie, Consulting Arborist, ‘Arboricultural Assessment Report, St. Peter’s Cathedral’, dated March 2013, and are in accordance with standard conservation policies.

Activities for replacing internal and external lighting where these activities do not affect the heritage fabric, fixtures and fittings; are sympathetic to the heritage item; and are in accordance with standard conservation policies.

Activities for installing and replacing external signage where these signs do not affect the heritage fabric; are sympathetic to the heritage item; and are in accordance with standard conservation policies.

Activities for installing and replacing building services (including cabling, plumbing, wiring and fire services) must be done using existing service routes, cavities or voids or replace existing surface mounted services. Work must not involve damage to, or removal of, significant fabric.

All activities for new and existing fixed memorial plaques, and ashes and their containers in the cathedral walls and precincts, where these activities minimise alterations to heritage fabric, do not remove heritage fabric, disturb human remains or archaeological relics, and are in accordance with standard conservation policies. Fixing of new plaques to masonry walls is to be undertaken to mortar joints only (or reuse existing fixing points).
Mar 12 2014

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0192412 Mar 14 26935

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenArmidale Dumaresq Council2012SHR Nomination
WrittenJean Newall OAM and Shirley Dawson2008On this rock: A tour of the cathedral and precincts
WrittenJoan Kerr1980Early and High Victorian: The Gothic Revival architecture of Edmund Thomas Blacket and John Horbury Hunt
WrittenLionel Gilbert1982The Armidale Album: Glimpses of Armidale’s History and Development in Word, Sketch and Photograph
WrittenPeter Reynolds, Lesley Muir and Joy Hughes2002John Horbury Hunt: Radical Architect 1838-1904
WrittenPhillip Goad & Julie Willis (eds)2012The Encyclopedia of Australian Architecture
WrittenScimus Consultants1996St Peter’s Anglican Cathedral, Armidale Pipe Organ Restoration Stages I & II - part of NSW Heritage Assistance Program 1994/95 and 1995/96
WrittenTony Barker1980Armidale: A cathedral city of education and the arts

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: 5048593
File number: S90/01424,12/19716,EF14/4318


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