St Mary's Basilica (Catholic)
79 Tyne Street, Invercargill
List Entry Information
List Entry Status
List Entry Type
Historic Place Category 1
Private/No Public Access
22nd November 1984
Secs 2/3 Blk XVI Invercargill Town
This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. The following text is the original citation considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.
Completed in 1905 to the design of the prominent late Victorian architect F.W. Petre of Dunedin, St Mary's Basilica is one of the more notable landmarks of the city. Less grand in scale and ornament than some of his churches it is nevertheless a striking building with the splendid dome more than 37m above the floor. The design consists of a Greek cross forming a very compact structure dominated by the large copper sheathed dome. Built of red brick with cream coloured arched windows, quoins and cornices, it has a crisp exterior. The fine interior has stained glass windows in the dome.
As townscape the impressive architecture of St Mary's Basilica makes a notable contribution to the city.
Petre, Francis William
Petre (1847-1918) was born in Lower Hutt. He was the son of the Hon. Henry William Petre and grandson of the eleventh Baron Petre, Chairman of the second New Zealand Company. Petre trained in London as a naval architect, engineer, and architect, returning to New Zealand in 1872. During the next three years he was employed by Brogden and Sons, English railway contractors, superintending the construction of the Dunedin-Clutha and the Blenheim-Picton railways.
He set up office in Dunedin in 1875 as an architect and civil engineer. He designed a house for Judge Chapman (1875), followed by 'Cargill's Castle' (1876) for E B Cargill and then St Dominic's Priory (1877), all in mass concrete.
It is for his church designs and for his pioneering use of concrete that Petre is most recognised. His church buildings include St Joseph's Cathedral, Dunedin (1878-86), Sacred Heart Basilica (now Cathedral of the Sacred Heart), Wellington (1901), St Patrick's Basilica, Oamaru, (1894 and 1903) and the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, Christchurch, (1904-05), which is the outstanding achievement of his career. Petre's commercial buildings include the Guardian Royal Exchange Assurance Building (1881-82) and Pheonix House (now Airport House, c.1885), both in Dunedin.
Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.