AD2000 - a journal of religious opinionAD Books
Ask a Question
View Cart
Search AD2000: author: full text:  
AD2000 - a journal of religious opinion
Find a Book:

AD2000 Home
Article Index
About AD2000
Contact Us
Email Updates


Add Me
Remove Me

Subscriber Access:

Enter the Internet Access Key from your mailing label here for full access!


How a Sydney parish church was restored

Bookmark and Share

 Contents - Nov 2007AD2000 November 2007 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: East Timorese to attend World Youth Day - Michael Gilchrist
Democracy: Religious leaders must have freedom to speak - Cardinal George Pell
Australia's Missionaries of God's Love congregation continues to grow - Mary Pidcock
News: The Church Around The World
Liturgical Abuse: Trinitarian language lost in Brisbane Scriptures - Michael Apthorp
Ora et labora: How monastic hospitality can strengthen one's faith - Br Barry Coldrey CFC
Latin is still the universal language of Liturgy - Bishop Arthur Serratelli
World Youth Day: Wagga Wagga priest's 'fly-a-thon' project to aid East Timor
Architecture: How a Sydney parish church was restored - John O'Brien
Poetry: A poem on the priesthood - Among the Apostles - John O'Neill
Letters: Bishop Robinson - Eric Carman
Letters: Teachings rejected by Bishop Robinson - Kevin McManus
Letters: Modern saints and traditional liturgy - Seamus Mahady
Letters: Petition
Letters: True Church? - John Frey
Letters: Clerical attire - Fr G.H. Duggan
Letters: Infallibility - Jerome Gonzalez
Prayer: John Paul II and the Rosary - Fr. M. Durham
Books: Catholicism and Fundamentalism by Karl Keating: essential reading in apologetics - Valerie Renkema (reviewer)
Books: ONE MAN, ONE WOMAN by Dale O'Leary - Bill Muehlenberg (reviewer)
Internet 'Singing Catechism': catechesis for the 21st century - Fr James Tierney
Music: Cherished Hymns of the Forefathers - 2DVD and CD set - Peter Donald (reviewer)
Books: Books available from AD Books
Reflection: Benedict XVI on Sunday Mass: 'not a command, but an inner necessity' - Pope Benedict XVI

St Peter's Surry Hills is a vital inner city parish in the Archdiocese of Sydney under the direction of its parish priest, Fr Bill Milsted.

The suburb is undergoing a transformation as older couples move on to retirement and young families move in. The parish, whilst carrying on with its normal spiritual and pastoral activities, is also home to a number of significant Catholic institutions and centres: the Mother House (in Australia) of the Missionaries of Charity; a convent for the Sisters of Mercy; St Patrick's Business College; the headquarters of the Servants of Mary; the Benedict XVI Centre for Students and Young Adults, as well as the Actors' Centre, an institution for the general public. The parish will also be playing a significant role for World Youth Day in 2008.

In April 1999, a savage hailstorm swept through East Sydney and passed over Surry Hills. The parish properties suffered considerable damage, amounting to $1,000,000. This event presented significant challenges for Fr Milsted, who had just been appointed as parish priest - his first appointment in this capacity.

All the parish buildings were well insured through Catholic Church Insurance and speedy progress was made to rectify the damage. With all the scaffolding in place the parish embarked on refurbishment works at the same time. Fortunately a parishioner stepped forward and made a generous donation to augment the funds.

The Church interior was rather dark, with poor natural light and ceiling hung fluorescent lights. The front altar was constructed on a timber carpeted platform. The general interior, fittings and furnishings were all in need of refurbishment.

This writer was engaged by the parish to act as the Architectural Consultant and Interior Designer.

Skylights were introduced over the sanctuary and side chapel. The timber platform was replaced with terrazzo to match the original sanctuary. The carpet in the aisle was replaced and the remaining timber floors sanded and polished. The fluorescent lights were replaced with quartz halide lights and glass diffusers.

Additional stained glass windows were introduced to the Pieta Shrine Alcove while the side chapel was refurbished with significant art works by Michael Galovich commissioned. The fresco Stations of the Cross were also rejuvenated by an expert in art restoration.

The existing front altar and ambo were upgraded and repositioned to allow for the celebration of Mass on both sides of the altar and the future introduction of altar rails.

The original Baptistery, which was used as a store room, was converted into a chapel for 'after hours adoration', allowing visual connection with the sanctuary and tabernacle, security being controlled with decorative wrought iron gates into the main body of the church and key pad access from outside.

Upgraded pews, new candlesticks, processional cross, book stands, credence tables, altar crosses, celebrant's chair and altar servers' pews and kneelers completed the refurbishment works and have ensured that St Peter's is a worthy House of God in the Archdiocese of Sydney. The parish also ensures that there is sufficient money put aside each year for maintenance to ensure that the church remains that way.

John O'Brien, ARAIA, is an architect and landscape consultant in Sydney.

Bookmark and Share

Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 20 No 10 (November 2007), p. 13

Page design and automation by
Umbria Associates Pty Ltd © 2001-2004