St Peter and Paul’s Goulburn shortlisted in the National Trust Heritage Awards
The magnificent restoration of St Peter and Paul’s Old Cathedral has been honoured with two shortlisted nominations in the National Trust Heritage Awards.
The annual awards celebrate excellence in conservation of Aboriginal, built, natural or cultural heritage, and the shortlist features more than 40 rich and diverse heritage projects spanning New South Wales.
Restoration committee chair Ursula Stephens said it was incredibly exciting to have reached the finals.
“To be nominated in two categories was an honour in itself,” she said.
“The first one is the nomination of the cathedral as a conservation project. The second is actually the nomination of the Stations of the Cross and the restoration and conservation of a piece of art. That’s quite special.”
Dr Ursula said she was hopeful the amazing work behind the Stations of the Cross would be acknowledged through the awards.
“It was a very meticulous and detailed restoration that they undertook,” she explained.
“The specialist conservator has done the most exquisite, painstaking work using cotton buds and fine paint. It’s just been amazing.”
The restoration committee was also thrilled to see the recognition of the significant work undertaken to conserve and restore the old cathedral.
“It is the amazing craftsmanship that has been demonstrated by the specialist conservation companies that have been involved,” Dr Ursula said.
“They themselves have said it has been an amazing opportunity for them to work on something both as significant and as technical as the work they have done here in Goulburn.”
The year-long, $10 million project to restore the structure is the most significant work in decades on what is the only greenstone cathedral in the world.
Since its reopening on November 30, St Peter and Paul’s Old Cathedral has attracted significant crowds.
“It is a showpiece, and we have people in and out every day marvelling at how they managed to do all this work in 12 months,” Dr Ursula said.
“There are many, many people reconnecting with the cathedral who have generations of family connections, coming back and remembering, ‘Oh, this was where my grandparents were married.’ We hear these stories every day and it is delightful that people can get so much joy from it.
“Architecturally, it is an amazing work. Musically, it intrigues people. There are so many reasons to come and visit, some of which are spiritual and pastoral, but others are just relishing and appreciating the heritage conservation works that have gone on.”
Dr Ursula said the restoration continued to be a work in progress.
“One of the most important next steps is to have a complete clean and repair of the organ, which is an outstanding instrument,” she said.
“It is a sister organ to the organ in the Town Hall in Sydney, and one of the finest organs in Australia.”
The main stained glass window was removed in 14 pieces to be restored, but there are other damaged windows still to be repaired in situ.
“So, there is still work to go on, but the idea that we can have it open and have people using it is fantastic,” Dr Ursula said.
“We have got pilgrims and busloads of visitors coming already. It is very special and has become part of our heritage.”
- St Peter and Paul’s Church has been nominated in the ‘Conservation – Built Heritage’ category.
- The Stations of the Cross have been nominated in the ‘Conservation – Interiors and Objects’ category.
The winners will be announced at the National Trust Heritage Awards ceremony on Friday, 12 May, at Doltone House in Pyrmont.