All hands were on deck on Sunday as Goulburn's Saints Peter and Paul's Cathedral packed up its interior ahead of restoration work.
Mary Queen of Apostles parish priest, Father Joshy Kurien celebrated the last Mass in the cathedral before the next phase of the $8 million project continued. It will not re-open until the expected completion in October, 2022.
Work has so far mainly concentrated on the historic greenstone structure's exterior. This has included underpinning, sandstone repointing and plumbing repairs, among other aspects. Contractors have also recently started roof repairs, replacing broken tiles with imported Welsh slate mirroring the original. This phase is also aimed at addressing internal damp problems.
But early next year, the project will concentrate more on the interior.
Father Kurien said this included re-painting, stabilisation and repair of the parquetry floor, cleaning and repair of windows, a new 'airlock' entry on the southern aspect to keep wind out, a fire, electrical and sound system upgrade and more.
Former local man, Adam Godijn, now an internationally recognised conservator, is conserving the Cathedral's 14 stations of the cross. Internal pews will be re-organised in the new fit-out.
On Sunday, Father Kurien celebrated what he described as an emotional last Mass, marking the closure.
Some 30 parishioners stayed back to help pack up internal elements, including those around the sacristy. They have been itemised and recorded on an inventory.
These, along with the pews, will be stored in the interim.
"Everyone was happy to stay back and help," Father Kurien said.
"It is quite exciting and it will be lovely to come back into a fully restored cathedral."
A committee is also endeavouring to have the structure declared a minor basilica, just one of six in Australia.
On Wednesday, December 15 Archbishop Christopher Prowse will be guest of honour at a private luncheon in Goulburn to discuss the catholic church's role in the community, as well as the restoration. He will also visit several facilities.
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