STOP 18 ON THE PUBLIC ART TRAIL OF CULTURAL HERITAGE
This large Cathedral is worth paying a visit, as is the smaller St. Stephen's Chapel, built in 1850, which is located next to it.
The cathedral was opened in 1874 and was the first Catholic cathedral in Queensland. Bishop Quinn, who arrived in Brisbane in 1861, organized the building of the Cathedral. Now a sculpture commemorates Bishop Quinn.
The Cathedral has a wonderful organ which I had the pleasure of hearing. This is the Jubilee Pipe Organ named after the Year of the Great Jubilee 2000. Other nice pieces in the Cathedral are the pews, carved from Queensland sycamore, something I think is very nice, and.....
just inside the entrance, is a sculpture of Mary, showing her standing with hands outstretched, extended in trust, inviting us to come and pray.
Tours of the Cathedral and Chapel are available Sundays....9am; 11am; 1pm (following Mass).
Weekdays: 10:30am (following Mass).
All tours meet at the covered way connecting the Cathedral and Chapel.
Special tours: Contact the Cathedral Office on 07 3336 9111
There is so much more to see than what I have mentioned. Look at the website, and go and see for yourself.
The foundation stones for St Stephens were laid by Bishop Quinn on the 26 December, 1863 (the feast of St Stephen). Bishop Quinn was the first bishop of the then Diocese of Brisbane (now the Archdiocese). Due to financial retraints at the time the planned foundations were reduced considerably and work did not really commence till 1870. The cathedral was dedicated in May, 1874 even though it was not yet finished.The gable and spires were added in 1884 in the time of Archbishop Robert Dunne and this was followed by the addition of some of the stained glass and marble. Archbishop Sir James Duhig laid the foundation stone for the transepts in 1920. He had grandiose plans for a huge cathedral to be built in Fortitude Valley on the site of the present "Cathedral Place" residential and shopping complex and the foundations for that church were laid by Archbishop Duhig in 1928 before a massive crowd of people numbering in excess of 35,000. For many years there was a crypt underground on that site, but the proposed Cathedral never came to fruition and the land was later sold and the crypt closed down.
Archbishop Francis Rush authorised the renovations to the Cathedral which were dedicated on December 4 1989. The present Archbishop John Bathersby authorised the new pipe organ as part of the Jubilee celebrations of 2000. He also authorised the renovations to the Pugin Chapel (now St Stephen's Chapel) which was the original Catholic Church of Brisbane and stands on the same block of land as the Cathedral.
The Cathdral of St Stephen stands on a wonderfully peaceful greenspace right in the heart
of the Central Business District (CBD) of Brisbane. Besides the Cathedral, you will find St Stephen's Chapel (formerly the Pugin Chapel) which houses the wonderfully confronting statue by John Elliot of Mary McKillop. This was the original Catholic Church in Brisbane and has had many uses in its day including that of a boy's school, which was the forerunner to the famous St Joseph's Gregory Terrace, which still is one of Brisbane's foremost private boy's schools.
Also in the Cathedral Close is the original St Stephen's School which closed down some years ago and today houses the Regional Tribunal of the Archdiocese. This building stands right beside an A frame shelter under which the original bell of the Cathedral is sheltered. The bell developed a crack at some time in years gone by, but was kept for posterity in the grounds of the Cathedral.
The Close is a popular spot with city workers who liketo relax on the grass at lunchtime.
There are some truly exquisite examples of stained glass inthe Cathedral of St Stephen. Probably the most notable and famous of them all is the window on the eastern end above the High Altar. This was commissioned by Archbishop Sir James Duhi in the early 1920's and was the work of Harry Clarke of J Clarke and Sons in Dublin. The windows depict the Ascension of the Lord into Heaven and were donated by the siblings of Isaac and William Mayne in memory of their two brothers. These were the children of Patrick Mayne, central figure of the book "The Mayne Inheritance". Patrick was a murderer who allowed another man to go to the gallows for the crime that he himself had committed. Although suspicions were rife during his lifetime, there was no proof and it was not until he confessed on his deathbed that the truth was known once and for all. He created a financial empire in early Brisbane, all of which evolved from a clever investment in property that he made with the money he robbed from his victim.
In contrast to the gigantic statue of Mary McKillop in the chapel, the rest of the interior gives the feeling of almost being in miniature. I particularly like the little organ, though I have yet to hear it played. Mass is held in the chapel at 5.10pm on every weekday afternoon.
It is also a very popular wedding venue.
The chapel can be visited at various times during the week but if you would like to take advantage of the free tour which comes as part of the tour of the Cathedral, you can do so after Sunday Masses in the cathedral.
This was the original Catholic Church in Brisbane and has had many uses in its day including that of a boy's school, which was the forerunner to the famous St Joseph's Gregory Terrace, which still is one of Brisbane's foremost private boy's schools.
Here in the Chapel, formerly known as the Pugin Chapel in honour of the architect, you will find John Elliot's Mary Mckillop which is gobsmacking to say the least.
Masses are held here at 5.10pm on weekdays and it is a very popular choice for wedding ceremonies.
Tours of the Chapel and the Cathedral are conducted following Sunday Masses and are free.