24 December, 2018
This carte de visite photograph from the early 1870s is part of the collections of the State Library of NSW. An helpful reader of Archbishop John Bede Polding OSB Facebook page helped us to identify where the photograph was taken.
This is the residence of the Bishop of Goulburn, the Right Reverend William Lanigan and his clergy. It is thought that the double-storeyed section was erected in the 1850s, but that the building was enlarged after the arrival of Dr Lanigan as the second bishop in December 1866.
The limitations of detail in the original photograph do not allow us to identify with any certainty the four clergyman depicted outside the presbytery. Just possibly, the Bishop is depicted as farthest on the right.
One of the curiosities of this photograph is the dress of the clergymen. Each is wearing a clerical frockcoat. Presumably the day was a cold one, since three appear also to be wearing an overcoat. None of that is unusual in terms of the dress of Catholic clergymen in the 19th century. But each is wearing a biretta, the clerical cap worn with the cassock, but not with street dress.
Greatly enlarged later in the nineteenth century, this building still serves as the Presbytery of Old Ss Peter and Paul Cathedral, which is adjacent. It ceased to be the Episcopal residence in 1962, when the Archbishop moved his Seat to the city of Canberra.