Anniversary of architect’s death commemorated

Members of Sydney-based ensemble Artes Christi perform Haydn’s Missa Nicolai during a midday Mass...
Members of Sydney-based ensemble Artes Christi perform Haydn’s Missa Nicolai during a midday Mass at St Joseph’s Cathedral in Dunedin yesterday. Photo: Gerard O'Brien
Australian choral and orchestral group Artes Christi performed in Dunedin yesterday to mark the anniversary of the death of one of New Zealand’s great church architects.

The Sydney-based ensemble performed at St Joseph’s Cathedral, which was designed by Francis William Petre.

Many around New Zealand commemorated the anniversary of his death on Monday.The prominent Dunedin-based architect was born in Petone on August 27, 1847, and died December 10, 1918.

He was an exponent of the Gothic revival style, one of its best practitioners in New Zealand, but could work competently in a wide variety of architectural styles.He was also notable for his pioneering work in concrete development and construction.He designed numerous public and private buildings, many of which are still standing in and around Dunedin.

Among the most prominent buildings he designed are St Joseph’s Cathedral, St Dominic’s Priory, St Patrick’s Basilica, Cargill’s Castle, and "Castlamore" in Lovelock Ave.He also designed Oamaru’s St Patrick’s Basilica, Waimate’s St Patrick’s Basilica, Invercargill’s St Mary’s Basilica, Timaru’s Sacred Heart Basilica, Wellington’s Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, and Christchurch’s Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament.

Artes Christi Australia president Anthony McCarthy said a focus of their tour was the church architecture of Mr Petre, and the ensemble would perform in about 10 of his Catholic churches in Christchurch, Timaru, Waimate, Oamaru, Dunedin and Central Otago before they returned home for Christmas.

He said their 2018 New Zealand tour was also in support of the Christchurch Diocese Earthquake Rebuild Appeal.

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