15 November, 2020

Saint Mary's Cathedral circa 1890

Saint Mary's Cathedral circa 1890
Image : State Library of NSW
Digitally restored by the Saint Bede Studio. 

This marvellous photograph was taken in about the year 1890.   During the last years of the 1880s, after the arrival of Patrick Francis Moran as Archbishop of Sydney, the upper walls of the northern end of the Cathedral (the sanctuary) were raised and a permanent roof set in place.  Notably missing from this depiction, however, are the transepts and central tower, which were completed by 1900.

The photograph was taken by Henry King (1855-1923), an English-born photographer, known for his studies of Australian Aboriginal people and his views of Sydney.  King was one of Australia's most significant late 19th century photographers.  The exceptional clarity of this image is due to the fact that the original large glass plate negative survived and was electronically scanned to give the greatest possible resolution.  Click on the image for an enlarged view.

In the left mid-ground, a Hansom cab can be seen moving up the road and beside it a tram bearing the sign "King Street".

Much the same view of the Cathedral, taken in 1981.


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