The Chapel

The Chapel was completed in 1874 under Mother Xavier Maguire's directions and forms part of the old convent. As Archbishop Goold was absent in Rome, the ceremony of Opening and Blessing the chapel was performed by the Rev Dean Fitzpatrick on May 24th 1874.

The Chapel is a beautiful example of a 19th century Gothic revival architecture. Built between 1872-1874, it involved a number of architects in it's design. The original drawings were undertaken by John Bourke of Dublin. Major alterations of these drawings were made by William Wardell and sent back to the Mother House in Dublin, by Mother Xavier. Other changes to the plans were made by Mr T. A. Kelly, of Melbourne who was contracted to build the chapel. No evidence is available as to why the redesigning took place. The stonemasons who originally built the chapel were brought out from Ireland. The side chapel was added in 1877, the architect being Alexander Davidson.

In 1905 under the guidance of Mother Evangelist Doogan, the sanctuary is beautified and a gothic altar is commissioned by Reid, Smart and Tappin and made by Jaan Kannuluik an Estonian craftsman. After Vatican II, the altar was brought forward so that the priest performing mass could now face the congregation. Sometime after that in 1966 a decision was made to remove the central supporting pillar that divided the main chapel from the boarders' side chapel as the Sisters felt that the pillar obscured the girls' view.

Forty five years later, in 2010 the Chapel was suffering from extensive cracking in the sanctuary walls, which was always thought to have been caused by drought. When a gang of cockatoos moved into the slate roof and started to destroy it, structural engineers were called in and it was found that the structure had been put at risk by the pillar's removal. For two years the chapel was closed while the pillar was reinstated, the slate roof replaced and the interior, including the highly decorative paint work was completely restored.

The Pipe Organ

The 128 year old George Fincham organ, has recently had a facelift, with the pipe facade being painted and gilded in a beautiful gothic design by Mulholland Restoration and decorating.

The organ was presented to Mother Regis Manly, the director of music in the chapel, by Mother Mary Gabriel Sherlock in 1886. Fincham’s two-manual and pedal organ has a french console disposition with the player’s back to the pipe facade, which is set in gothic wood panelling. The whole instrument is set in a west-end gallery with a projecting balustrade for the console.

The organ was refurbished for it’s 100th birthday by George Fincham and Sons, descendants of the original George Fincham, who have maintained the organ since it’s installation and continue its care.

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