St Mary’s jarrah lives again in superb works of devotion

18 Jun 2008

By The Record

Readers of The Record have the chance to win a part of history


When a large part of St Mary’s Cathedral was demolished in preparation for the final completion of the historic building the site was a temporary mess.
Much of the original Jarrah used in the construction of the Cathedral when it was completed in 1865 and again in the 1920s was salvaged for re-use.
But a substantial quantity of wood unable to be turned into something new was left to be eventually sent off to the tip.
However Record editor Peter Rosengren, whose father Gordon was a teacher and woodworker, knew that even the scraps left lying around were historic and could be refashioned into something new.
Over several days last year he used a trailer and some volunteer labour to cart away the scrap so that it could be saved for another day.
The results is the St Mary’s Cathedral Crucifixes which The Record first began producing through the efforts of Pregnancy Assistance chairman Brian Peachey, who is also a bit of a jack-of-all-trades.
Mr Peachey is a keen amateur woodworker and has fashioned many items over the years, including the altar and tabernacle in the Pregnancy Assistance chapel.
However the response to the first advertisement in The Record for the crucifixes was so great that Mr Peachey was kept busy for the better part of six months filling all the back orders received from readers of the paper, many with a connection of some kind to the historic cathedral.
Many either met or were married at the Cathedral, or had children baptised there, or have seen relatives ordained there or grieved for deceased family members and friends – St Mary’s has a special place in the heart of Perth Catholics for many reasons.
Enter Mater Dei College whose staff have come to the rescue, facilitated by College Principal Mr Clem Mulcahy.
Design and Technology teachers Rob Norgrove and Chris Gray, together with Technical Assistant Rob Heintz generously agreed to help produce the second generation of the crucifixes in recent weeks.
The result is another batch of these rare high-quality crucifixes available through The Record.
The beautifully-crafted crucifixes are made in two styles, either to hang from a wall or to stand on a base, and Mater Dei are passing along proceeds to their local Young Vinnies social justice group. Readers of The Record have the chance to win one of these rare works of history starting in the Wednesday July 2 edition of The Record.
Mr Rosengren said he had been delighted to see the results of the fine woodworking skills of Mater Dei’s staff.
“These are beautiful – and historic. It’s fantastic to see something like this saved for a whole new generation of people instead of ending up in a rubbish dump somewhere,” he said. The crucifixes are available from The Record.
Currently in stock are the 25 cm wall crucifix and 32cm wall crucifix. The 25cm standing crucifix will be in stock soon.
Mr Rosengren said other objects will be manufactured in the future, including pens, stationery sets, and keepsake boxes. Orders can be made with Natalie or Caroline, ph (08) 9227 7080.


A crucifix made from the jarrah of St Mary’s Cathedral. Photo: Bernie Mahony