Point of Interest

St George’s Cathedral

Australia / The Pacific

St George’s Cathedral, at 38 St George’s Terrace (on the corner of St George’s Terrace and Cathedral Avenue), is the city’s principal Anglican church.  The first-ever Anglican service was held in 1829, at which point the Archdeacon Thomas Scott set to work and commissioned Frederick Irwin to build what was known as the ‘Rush Church’ near the site of the present cathedral.  In 1845 the first church of St George was opened, next to the City of Perth Library.  It was enlarged by Bishop Matthew Hale when he arrived in 1858 but was still considered too small.  His successor, Bishop Henry Hutton Parry, commissioned the present cathedral.  It was built between 1879 and 1888 in the Victorian Academic style, of locally made-made brick, limestone from Rottnest Island and Western Australian jarrah.  The pitched roof was originally covered with slate. These were replaced by tiles in the 1950s due to leakage.  A central nave, with a timber vaulted roof supported by hammer beams, has an aisle on each side and a rose window dominating the western end.  The rose-coloured brick interior is simple but elegant.  The cathedral was designed by the Sydney architect, Edmund Blacket (1817-83), the pre-eminent architect of his time. 

The south transept contains the Garter banner of Sir Paul Hasluck (1905-93), Governor-General of Australia between 1969 and 1974.  The banner hung over his stall in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, following his appointment as a Knight of the Garter in 1979.  It was taken down after his death and hung here on 17 September 1995 as a visible reminder of the bond between the Anglican Church in Australia and its antecedents in the British Isles.  There have been few Australian Knights of the Garter, the others being Lord Casey (1969), and Sir Ninian Stephen (1994).

The cathedral grounds contain a contemporary sculpture on the theme of St George and the Dragon.  It was named Ascalon after the lance used by St George to slay the dragon, the artwork aiming to evoke a sense of righteous power over a force of darkness and oppression.

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