SOME of the scaffolding on St Peter and Paul’s Catholic Cathedral has been removed to reveal the extent of the work carried out on the top half of the belltower section.
Mary Queen of Apostles Parish Property Supervisor Brian Watchirs gave the Goulburn Post a sneak peek at the work that has been completed so far.
The spire has been surrounded by a wall of scaffolding for quite some time, with $4 million spent on the cathedral’s restoration since work first started in 2002, and the parish still needs another $7m to complete the project.
“The scaffolding has been removed from the top third of the belltower, with the louvres of the tower coated in copper to protect them and steel mesh guards put up to keep birds out,” Mr Watchirs said.
“We also hope to have the cathedral’s bell ringing again by this Saturday, August 15.”
Mr Watchirs said that work has now started on the bottom twothirds of the tower, with broken sandstone and a capstone that was vandalised to be replaced as well as pointing work on the porphry stone to fill in the cracks where water and damp was seeping in.
“We also have some roof issues such as leaks that need to be rectified,” he said.
“One side of the roof above where the main altar is located will be replaced and there are two stainedglass windows above this area that had been covered by this roof for many years.
“These wonderfully decorated windows will now finally see the light of day again.”
Mr Watchirs said that some of the work had been carried out from parish funds, but that they were also still waiting for the next round of government grant funding to become available to continue.
“We have obviously had some donations from generous benefactors, and they like to see what work has been done from those donations, but we also rely on government funding,” he said.
The Department of Environment and Water Resources provided a grant of $1.6 million towards the project in 2006 as well as two grants from NSW Heritage of $75,000 each.
Mr Watchirs also showed the Post the work that has also been carried out underneath the cathedral, where three previous bishops are buried: Bishop Lanigan, Bishop Barry and Bishop Gallagher.
There is also evidence of some darker coloured stone from the original cathedral.
The work was carried out by engineer Claude Bagnara with help from Mr Watchirs in 2009 and it took Mr Bagnara approximately four years to complete.
He also removed more than 1000 tonnes of fill from the area. This undercroft area is now completely cleared and is open for public tours.
For more information on the building project and for a tour of the undercroft, contact Parish Priest Fr Dermid McDermott or Mr Watchirs on 4821 1022 or via email at email@example.com .au.