St Peter’s Church, East Maitland (1875-85) was designed by Edmund Blacket in 1875 and built 1884-6 under the supervision of his son Cyril (1857-1937). It is more ornate than St Mary’s, West Maitland, but lacks the intended 180-foot-high tower and spire, so that the west wall is blank apart from a clearly temporary doorway. Another aisled church, built of local sandstone, it has an apsed east end has three traceried windows. The interior columns are granite capped with Melbourne bluestone basalt. St Peter’s has a fine Willis organ of 1876, installed in the church in 1886: http://www.ohta.org.au/confs/Sydney/STPETERSANGLICAN.html.
In the years after its completion St Peter’s was richly embellished by local benefactors. The very fine alabaster and marble pulpit by Rhodes of Birmingham dates from 1893; the reredos is made of Oamuru stone from New Zealand, with red Girotte marble shafts from the Pyrenees and Ashburton marble from England; the lectern dates from 1897, and the floor was tiled in 1900-4.
Blacket’s tower will presumably never be built, yet St Peter’s is as fine and impressive a Victorian church as any you could find in Britain.
Mike Higginbottom’s lecture Gothic Down Under: English architecture in the Antipodes explores the influence of British architects, and British-trained architects, on the design of churches and other buildings in the emerging communities of Australia and New Zealand. For details, please click here.