Save St Benedict’s Church

Give a great gift to Notre Dame students of the present and future

It is an honour and privilege for the students and staff of Notre Dame Sydney to have Australia’s oldest consecrated Catholic Church as the centerpiece of our Broadway campus.

St Benedict’s underwent a major restoration from July 2015 to June 2016. Now completed, the Church has been returned to its former glory and takes its place as one of the most magnificent Catholic Churches in Australia.

How you can help

To make a gift or to discuss the St Benedict’s Restoration project, please contact Mimi Nieberl on (02) 8204 4393 or email on sydney.development@nd.edu.au.

The Conservation of St Benedict’s Church. Jasper Swann, Heritage and Stone Mason Consultant

St Benedict’s Catholic Church has graced the corner of Abercrombie Street and Broadway for more than 160 years. However, like all of Sydney’s prominent 19thcentury sandstone buildings, the stonework has suffered from the effects of weathering. In a sandstone building of this kind, deterioration unchecked leads to accelerated decay. Thus, in 2013, the spire, belltower and facades of St Benedict’s were identified as in need of conservation if the building were to be preserved for future generations.

The principal aim in conserving any building of heritage significance is to retain as much of the original fabric as possible, whilst undertaking appropriate measures to slow its deterioration. “As much as necessary and as little as possible” is the conservationist’s mantra, and it has been rigorously applied in the current program at St Benedict’s. There has been an additional and significant aim: to restore the architectural integrity of the bell tower.

Early photographs showed two prominent architectural features in the belltower, both of which had been shorn from the building (probably in the early 1940s). An upper projecting string course with ornately carved bosses at each corner, and a second projecting string course integrated with hood moulds over the belfry window openings served not only as important horizontal architectural elements, but also to shed water clear of the façade stonework during periods of rain.

The restoration of these two key elements to an earlier known state was thus a priority during the current program of conservation works.

Fr. John

Now that the scaffolding has been removed from the tower, these prominent elements of Pugin’s original design can clearly be appreciated. The keen observer will also notice the ornately carved bosses at each corner of the tower in the upper string course.

Where possible, original stones have been repaired using specialised mortars, but where beyond repair, many stones have been replaced with new to match the original.

Fr John Neill OP. Parish Priest of St Benedict’s 2005-2009. University of Notre Dame, Founding Sydney Chaplin.

“The sanctuary is beautiful. Also the beauty of the High Altar and the Lady Altar and the Sacred Heart showing the humanity of Christ.”

“St Benedict’s Broadway’s Parish has such an intense sense of their identity and their place in Australia’s history.”