29 October, 2020

Saint Mary's Cathedral Sydney circa 1942

Saint Mary's Cathedral Sydney early 1940s.
Digital restoration by the Saint Bede Studio

This image, taken in the early 1940s, shows the southern facade of Saint Mary's Cathedral, Sydney in the form it took between 1928 and 2000.  For those used to the stone spires which soar above Hyde Park, the Cathedral might look somewhat odd and incomplete. It was always the intention to complete the Cathedral with spires on the southern facade.  The construction of stone spires concealing a structural steel frame, was completed in 2000.

Without the spires, the similarity between the facade of Saint Mary's Sydney and Notre Dame, Paris (see below) is more readily evident.  But the Sydney Cathedral is a more "precise" form of Gothic, that of the Victorian period, whilst Notre Dame is very much the sum of several periods of architecture, commencing in the 12th century.  The composition of the facade of Notre Dame is common amongst the Cathedrals of France and it is obvious that the architect William Wardell had these facades in mind when he drew up his design for a new Sydney Cathedral in 1865.

Notre Dame de Paris
Image : Wikipedia.


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