A Sesquicentenary Project St Patrick’s Church Rockley 1870 – 2020
For the celebration of the sesquicentenary of St Patrick’s Church, Rockley I thought it would be an opportune time to produce a book highlighting the beautiful stained glass windows that adorn the church and document some of the stories behind the choice of these particular windows.
I brought together the work of three people with particular expertise to complete this project:
Robert Bruce – a renowned photographer who not only takes great photographs but is also skilled at using computer technology to enhance the photographs to bring out the intricate details of each one;
Marie Nightingale – a talented researcher and writer who likes to document the stories of those whose lives were so much part of the history of the early settlements in our region;
Robin Hedditch – an expert on the work of stained glass manufacturer John Hardman and on the churches in which Hardman windows feature throughout our Diocese and beyond.
The result of this combination of skills is a permanent record of the beautiful stained glass windows in St Patrick’s Church, and a glimpse into the lives of the people who were instrumental in designing and manufacturing them, those who donated them to the church, and the people remembered in them.
The Covid pandemic delayed our celebrations by a couple of years but this is not the first time something like this has happened at Rockley – the 100th anniversary was overlooked amidst the excitement of Pope Paul VI’s visit to Australia in 1970 and so that centenary was celebrated a year after its actual date. The important thing is that it was celebrated – and so is the 150th being celebrated, because it is a significant milestone in the life of the church and the community.
Fr Paul Devitt VG
Dean of the Cathedral
Book now for sale
St Patrick’s was designed in 1869 in the Gothic Revival style by local architect, Edward Gell. The foundation stone was laid on 11 July 1869 and in 1870 the new church was opened for worship. There were no stained glass windows in the church at the time and sheets of canvas covered the openings. A few years later, in 1873, the first stained glass windows were ordered from Hardman and Co in Birmingham by Edward Gell acting on instructions from Bishop Quinn. Gell ordered nine windows for the nave and a large three-light window for the western wall.
Copies of the book are available for purchase at the Presbytery at 100 George Street, Bathurst or The Cathedral Gift Shop located in the Cathedral Parish Centre for $20 per copy.