Their Part in a City's Fame :: Tribute to Australian Workmen
The architectural beauty of a city is derived not only from its secular public buildings but also from the churches. Indeed, in Europe the criterion and standard of beauty seems to be much more with the church than with other edifices. Many cities and towns have derived their fame completely from their cathedrals and churches. His Grace the Archbishop.
Addressing a very large congregation at the opening of the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, Toowong, on Sunday last, His Grace the Archbishop of Brisbane (Most Rev. James Duhig, D.D.) said:-
The dedication of this beautiful church, complete in every detail and standing on so commanding a site, is not only a great triumph for the Jesuit Fathers and their parishioners but it is a notable event in the life of the Catholic Church in this City of Brisbane. I heartily congratulate the people of the Parish on the possession of so beautiful a place of worship. It is a great and welcome change from the totally inadequately wooden building which has been the parish church for nearly 40 years. I also congratulate the suburb of Toowong on the distinction which it much receive by so graceful an architectural adornment as this church is.
We first began to make history here by the erection of the fine pile of buildings known as Stuartholme Convent. I am pleased that in designing this church Mr. Jack Hennessy made it in keeping with Stuartholme, Brickwork may not have the solid appearance or dignity of stone but Mr. Hennessy informs me that owing to the superior quality of Brisbane bricks, they would form appropriate material for any building and with a diversity of colour and treatment you will get from them the most pleasing effects. That I think is proved in this building the lines and poise of which are certainly beautifully balanced and graceful.
We have built fourteen of these brick churches in Brisbane in about as many years, and every one of them is structurally sound and beautiful. They really represent a new era in ecclesiastical building in Queensland, at least as far as the Catholic community is concerned. We believe there is nothing too good for the service of God, and let me say that while Gad may be worshipped in a bush hut or out under the canopy of heaven, the dignity of religion demands that wherever it is possible to provide buildings liturgically correct and architecturally beautiful they should be provided.
After what I have seen of St. Mary's Cathedral, Sydney, St. Patrick's, Melbourne and the completed portion of the gorgeous new Cathedral at Perth, I can say that we have Australian architects, builders and craftsmen fitted to undertake and carry out the designing and building of churches and cathedrals on a scale equal to anything of their kind in Europe. I regard the Lady Chapel in the Perth Cathedral as the finest piece of ecclesiastical work in the Southern Hemisphere. It was designed by an Australian architect and executed by Australian workmen.
This Church of St. Ignatius present exteriorly a very pleasing appearance, but as with the King's daughter mentioned in the Holy Scriptures, so with this church - all its real beauty is within. In detail of design and chaste workmanship, the interior of this church leaves nothing to be desired. Its wealth of ornamentation is so wisely selected and judiciously disposed as to appeal strongly to our souls and create a warm and devotional atmosphere. I am greatly pleased that this is so, and I specially commend the taste of the Rev. Father Murphy and his architect, Mr. Hennessy. I was much pleased to learn of the generosity of the families of the parish.
It is a great satisfaction to see this type of church building springing up in various parts of the City. It is not only a mark of a robust faith in God, but of strong confidence in the future of Brisbane and the State of which it is the capital. No one can set bounds to the future of either. I am not a prophet but I would venture to predict that few cities not only of Australia but of the whole of the British Empire, have before them prospects of greater development than Brisbane has. Its geographical situation, its even climate, its beautiful surroundings and the fact that it is the capital of a State with almost limitless resources all combine to point to a glorious future for this City.
Anybody watching the development of Brisbane for the past ten or twenty years - some of which were periods of much depression - can form some idea of its future. Its strides during those years have been that of a young giant, increasing in strength and beauty and prosperity as it increased in size and population. The City Hall is the newest criterion of Brisbane's growth and of its confidence in its own powers of development, and I think it is not a false standard. It has compelled all-round admiration and made the people of other capitals speak with much more respect of Brisbane than they were wont to. The architectural beauty of a city is derived not only from its secular public buildings, but also from its churches. Indeed in Europe the criterion and standing of beauty seems to be much more with the church than with other edifices. Many cities and town have derived their fame completely from their cathedrals and churches. Thus even from a civic and national standpoint a beautiful church building is a great asset to any city or country. I therefore rejoice that the standard of church architecture here is being steadily improved and when better times come and more money is available there will, I believe, be still great development in this direction.
But whatever development comes within the next 50 years, there will be few finer churches than this one. I again congratulate the Jesuit Fathers. On Sunday, June 1, the personal representative of the Holy Father, Dr. Cattaneo, will celebrate Pontifical High Mass here, a namesake of Father Murphy -the rector of Newman College, Melbourne - will preach the occasional sermon.