Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The marble altar of Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church, Virginia

Since 1868, this elaborate marble altar has graced the church of Our Lady of the Assumption in Virginia.  The text below details the dedication of the altar.

The altar-is erected on a slab of Willunga slate 4 feet by 12, and 2 inches thick, with a foundation of five feet of solid masonry, well concreted. The base is of white Italian marble, which supports four pedestals or pillars of Irish black and red marble, surmounted with caps of alabaster, which support three arches that form the front of the altar. The table, which is in one slab 3 feet by 10 1/2, a foot thick, beautifully polished, and weighing nearly one ton, is of white Italian marble. The back is all of beautifully pained English marble of various colours. The tabernacle, which stands on the table, is two feet by two and a half, and is of coloured marble. A strong course of white Italian marble finishes the first cornice, which is six feet from the base of the altar. Then follows seven recesses or arches, supported by 10 pedestals of black and red marble, exquisitely polished, the caps and bases of which are all alabaster, supporting two piers of black and white English. The top cornice is finished in Italian, freestone projecting six inches over quoins and columns, and is ten feet from the base of the altar. The weight of the altar is five tons, the height and width 12 feet, and the depth from the front of the table to the back three feet nine inches.

The cost of this was £390, including the mouldings in tile sanctuary, which is in keeping with the style of the altar. Mr McMullen, of Adelaide, put the altar together.  The altar arrived by the ship Yatala. The Catholic ladies of Virginia waited on the Vicar-General the Very Rev. J. Smyth, and asked him to send home for plans, which he did, and two were sent out by the agent for the South Australian Diocese, the Very Dr. Heptonstall, of Blackmore Park, England and the one now erected was selected.  It was made by one of the first-class marble manufacturers in London, and it was put together in the studio before it was shipped. The chancel or sanctuary in which it is erected is sixteen feet in the clear.

The dedication of the alter took place on September 20th, 1868, the Very Rev. Vicar-General officiating.  At 11 o'clock the ceremony commenced by the choir chanting " O Immaculati" according to the rubrics of the Catholic Church. The altar was then solemnly dedicated, and the chancel opened by the Vicar-General, who commenced Mass immediately afterwards, and at the finishing of the last Gospel, preached an eloquent and impressive sermon, taking his text from the Hebrews, ch. xiii., v. 10—"We have an altar whereof they have no right to eat who serve the tabernacle.'

The altar was beautifully decorated with very costly vases and flowers, and on the marble canopy stood a very large statue of the Madonna and Child, which had been given as a present by Michael Hewitt, of Penfield, and on either side stood two magnificent marble vases. Mr. Hewitt has also made a present of six massive silver candlesticks, which cost in the whole fifteen guineas, and are in admirable keeping with the style of the altar. The Vicar-General has also made a present of a handsome marble Credence table. Miss Ward, of Emerald-hill Melbourne, has sent to the Secretary two guineas to purchase something appropriate in tile shape of ornamentation for the altar, and many other presents have been made, including some large and exquisite bunches of flowers which had been given by the Misses Forrestall, and many other very valuable presents are promised and forthcoming.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The tragic death of Donald Norman Buckby

Donald Norman Buckby owned the Smithfield Chaff Mill located near the Smithfield railway station. The Chaff Mill was a three storey galvanised building and functioned for about 20 years between 1918 and early 1940’s.  It has now been demolished.

Donald Norman Buckby, a middle aged man, committed suicide at Smithfield by hanging himself from a beam in the stable. He was a former resident of near Smithfield, but who had sold his property and was living with relatives at Wasleys, when he suffered a nervous breakdown.  He was brought into Dr. Dawes' private hospital for treatment.  One evening, the Doctor having a call to Smithfield, gave Buckby the chance of a spin in the open air, and on arrival at that town left the patient in the car with the driver whilst he, accompanied by the nurse, went into the home of Mr Hales. Buckby appeared alright, and getting out of the car told the driver that he would return in a few minutes.
He then went into the stable. Dr. Dawes was away about 10 minutes, and on reaching the car at once asked for Buckby, who had not returned. It being dark in the stable Dr. Dawes got Mr. Hales to secure a lantern, and together they entered, the horses giving a clue of something untoward having happened by snorting and exhibiting fear. Buckby was found suspended from a post by a coupling' strap around his neck. The body was at once cut down and artificial respiration resorted to, but without result — life was extinct.
Bunyip Friday 3 Dec 1920            

Monday, January 9, 2017

Tippett's Bridge, Virginia

Tippett’s Bridge spans the Gawler River at the Buckland Park Estate. It was constructed about 1848 by local residents when Captain Allen and Ellis were owners of Buckland Park.  It is the only bridge leading to the old Port Gawler road which was used for stock to travel to the city, without having to travel to through Virginia.

In 1909 there was concern over the safety of the wooden bridge and discussions were held over replacing the bridge.  Munno Para West and Port Gawler Council had shared the costs of repairing the bridge in years gone by.  After inspection it was decided that the old structure should be replaced by a new one, to be of stone and cement foundation, with abutment and pillars raised so that a steel girder may rest upon them.  The work was supervised by Port Gawler Council. 

The bridge was most probably named for John Tippett, a local land owner.  John came to South Australia with his parents on the ship Thetus in 1854.  Born in St Just, Cornwall the family went direct to the copper mines of Burra.  They moved to the Little Para, near Salisbury and farmed here until 1874, when they returned to Moonta.  He joined a survey party and worked from Flinders Range, surveying Quorn, Orroroo, Peterborough.  He drove a coach between Robe and Beachport for a few years.  He married Margaret Paddon in 1880 and resided at Robe and Kingston.  After the death of his wife he returned to Moonta in 1885 with his two young daughters.  He married Jessie Squire in 1895 and had two sons and two daughters.   He passed away in August 1935.
John served as Councillor for the District Council of Munno Para East 1870 (1 year) and was curator of Little Para Wesleyan Chapel, Blacktop Road, Hillbank.