St Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney 1895

The Laying of the Foundation Stone of St Andrew’s Cathedral.

The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 18 May 1837

Tuesday last, being the day appointed by public advertisement for laying, or rather re-laying, the foundation stone of the cathedral church of Saint Andrew, the most interesting spectacle that has ever occurred in the Colony was witnessed by the Sydney multitude. At 11 o’clock His Excellency the Governor arrived at St. James’s Church, where he was received by the Lord Bishop and a deputation from the Diocesan Committee, who, with a numerous and highly respectable congregation, had assembled for Divine Service, during which an anthem that had been prepared for the occasion was introduced, – the music was both masterly and touching. Of the vocal performances we cannot say so much: the solo was a complete failure, and produced a most unpleasant effect. Without stopping to criticise further, we shall pass on to the luminous and eloquent discourse of the right reverend Bishop, which was taken from the Psalm 87, v. 1 to 4, wherein His Lordship with happy effect traced the genealogy, if we may so call it, of the Church of England, from the earliest period of Christian worship lo the present day, and adduced many and beautiful illustrations in proof of its identity with that acknowledged by God, and established by our Saviour and his apostles. Herein, too, was contained a high and much deserved tribute to the memory and worth of the original projector of the intended edifice – Lachlan Macquarie, Esq., whoso name has always been, and ever will be, associated with feelings of warm admiration and esteem. The sermon concluded with some impressive practical remarks, in which His Lordship directed the thoughts of his hearers from their earthly temple, to that “Not made with hands, eternal in the heavens, whose builder and whose maker is God, and whose chief corner-stone is Christ.” – At the conclusion of the service, the Governor headed a procession, including almost all the civil officers, several naval and military, and a large body of gentry, followed by an interesting train of children belonging to the parish schools, bearing their respective banners.

The cavalcade passed through King, and George streets, amidst a great concourse of spectators, until it arrived at the site of St. Andrew, a few yards distant from the latter street, where His Excellency dismounted, and, accompanied by the Lord Bishop, Judges Dowling, Burton, and Kinchela, the High Sheriff, the clergy, and many other functionaries, proceeded to the foundation, when the Governor delivered a short address espressive of the pleasure he felt at participating in so interesting and important a ceremony, and of his gratification at witnessing the demonstration of so much joy and happiness. He was then presented by the Bishop with a silver trowel, suitably inscribed, and a vase, containing a collection of coins, with the following inscription and translation: –

Octodecim Abhine Annis
in Fundamentum Ecclesiæ Cathedralis
D. O. M.
Sub Nomine
Sancti Andreæ Apostoli
Lachlannus Macquarie,
Coloniis Australibus Tene Præsidens,,
Haud Ita Procul
Collocaverat Lapidem,
Priore Situ,
Propter lmmutata Platearum Spatia,
Minus Commodo Evadente,
In Hunc Locum Removeri Jussit,
Ad Honorem Dei in Christo
Denuo et Postremum Posuit
Honoratissimi Ordinis Balnei Eques;
Legtus; et Colonisæ Præfectus ;
Decimo-Septimo Calendas Junii
Anno Salutis Humanæ


The stone which eighteen years ago had been placed at no great distance, as the foundation of a Cathedral Church, to be consecrated to Almighty God, under the name of St. Andrew the Apostle, by Lachlan Macquarie, at that time Governor of the Australian Provinces, in consequence of the original situation proving inconvenient, through the changes which have taken place in the direction of the streets, was removed to this spot by command of Sir Richard Bourke, Knight of the Most Honorable

Order of the Bath, Lieutenant-General, and Governor of the Colony: by whom, to the honor of God who was in Christ, it was afresh and finally laid, on the sixteenth day of May, in the year of human redemption 1837.

The above having been deposited by the Governor in an aperture cut for the purpose, the top-stone was lowered, and underwent the mechanical examination of His Excellency, who pronounced “This stone to be firmly laid, to the honor of Almighty God, as the foundation-stone of St. Andrew’s Church, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” The Bishop then read a dedicatory prayer, and pronounced his blessing which terminated that portion of the day’s proceedings. Seats were provided for the ladies, numbers of whom, in spite of the threatening appearance of the weather. graced the ceremony with their presence. The crowds of children, pedestrians, equestrians, and equipages, altogether formed an exhibition, than which, none will be longer remembered with feelings of pleasure and satisfaction by the present Colonial generation.

At about half-past two a congregation of the Protestant Schools assembled at the spacious building in Castlereagh street, to partake of a dinner which had been prepared for them by the hospitable Bishop, and we are sure he must have experienced heart-felt pleasure at witnessing the happy countenances of his juvenile charge, who testified their unaffected gratitude by prolonged enthusiastic cheers at the mention of his lordship’s health, which succeeded those of the King and the Governor, and to which they did reasonable justice in a ” bumper.” Roast-beef and plumb-pudding on no limited scale quickly disappeared to the amusement of His Excellency, who, with Mrs. Broughton and a select party, honoured the festive scene with their company. The greatest delight and pleasure was manifested throughout by the youthful throng, amounting to about 600, and they eventually dispersed with much innocent mirth. At six o’clock the Bishop entertained a fashionable party to dinner at Petty’s Hotel. Among the guests were the Chief Justice, Mr. Justice Burton, Captain Westmacott, Mr. Riddell, Majors England and Phelps, the Commander of H. M. Brig Victor, Mr. M’Quoid, Mr. M’Pherson, Mr. Norton, the Clergy, &c. &c. &c.

The cloth having been removed, the following toasts were proposed : –

The King and Church.

The Queen and Royal Family.

His Excellency Sir Richard Bourke – Captain Westmacott returned thanks.

The Lord Bishop of Australia – Proposed by Mr. Justice Dowling, with a suitable address.

His Lordship returned thanks in an eloquent speech, in which he adverted with considerable feeling, to the able support he had ever received from his Reverend Brethren, several of whom were then present; and whom, his Lordship observed, had, previous to his first arrival in the Colony, sustained “the burthen and heat of the day.”

The Army and Navy – Major England returned thanks.

The Bishop then in allusion to the Diocesan Committee of the Societies in England, who had so zealously promoted the religious interests of the Colony, proposed, as the last toast, the health of their venerable and valuable member, (whose absence, on account of indisposition, was deeply regretted).

Mr. M’Leay; and the Treasurer and Secretaries then present. – The toast was drank with much enthusiasm; and the Rev. W. Cowper returned thanks.

At about 10 o’clock the party dispersed, highly gratified with the memorable events of the 16th of May, A.D 1837.

Article Source: St. Andrew’s Cathedral(1837, May 18). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), p. 2.]

Provenance: “New South Wales: the mother colony of the Australias“. Frank Hutchinson, Edited by F. Hutchinson.
Author: Frank Hutchinson
Date of Publication: 1896
Publisher: C. Potter
Place of Publishing: Sydney
Copyright status: Out of copyright
Courtesy: The British Library

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