St Patrick's Church

Timaru Road, Waimate

  • St Patrick's Church.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Melanie Lovell-Smith. Date: 7/02/2002.
  • .
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Melanie Lovell-Smith. Date: 7/02/2002.
  • .
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Melanie Lovell-Smith. Date: 7/02/2002.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Registered List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1
List Number 7343 Date Entered 25th October 1996

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City/District Council

Waimate District

Region

Canterbury Region

Legal description

Lots 1-6 pt Lots 7-8 DP 46

Assessment criteriaopen/close

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Recommendation for Registration considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

St Patrick's Church was built in 1909 to serve the Catholic parish of Waimate, founded in 1865 by French Marist missionaries. The church, a visually striking building, designed by prominent architect F.W. Petre, is the centre piece of parish life in this small South Island town.

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Recommendation for Registration considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Aesthetic:

This Italianate basilica is the most impressive building in Waimate and easily dominates its prominent position at the northern entrance to the town. It is a singular and picturesque element in its wider setting and has considerable landscape value. The copper dome and louvred tower are reported to be particularly evocative especially when seen at a distance against Hunter's Hills.

Architectural:

This is a distinctive Petre design - an Italianate-Romanesque basilica with an arcaded portico and an impressive louvred tower. Simplicity and weighty robustness are the hallmarks here, combined with a fairly restrained use of Renaissance motifs.

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Recommendation for Registration considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Spiritual/Cultural:

The early history of St Patrick's parish is linked with the Marist Fathers - French missionary priests. In 1954 the priests of the Marist order departed and the parish was handed over to Diocesan priests. This church has been the focal point for the large Roman Catholic congregation in Waimate for over eighty years.

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Recommendation for Registration considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

The following comments are made in relation to the criteria identified under S.23(2) of the Historic Places Act 1993.

(g) The technical accomplishment or value, or design of the place:

St Patrick's was designed by the architect F.W. Petre and completed in 1909. St Patrick's is a good example of Petre's work - a basilica on a longitudinal plan, constructed in reinforced concrete and sheathed in brick, with standard iron window frames and zinc ceiling panels.

Petre's aim seems to have been to provide the Catholic community with an impressive and dignified church whose dramatic silhouette would be seen for miles. The exterior reveals something of a stylistic mixture - Italianate in the tower and cupola and louvred arches, Romanesque in the sturdy exposed piers and round windows and arches, in the symmetry of the main facade, and in the vigorous three dimensional modelling of forms expressing load-bearing walls.

The main facade consists of tripartite arrangement of semi-circular arches; at ground level these take the shape of an arched portico, flanked on both sides by sturdy piers faced in Oamaru stone. There is a set back central arch housing the circular window on the level above; the shape of the flanking arches is traced out in Oamaru stone mouldings, with grouped, semi-circular windows set within to light the choir. The middle bay of the facade is capped with a triangular pediment and has flanking rows of balustrading on either side. The louvred and domed central tower rises above these and, in effect, sets off the whole facade.

In the Romanesque manner, the exterior massing of the building is characterised by the desire to achieve legibility through stressing the elements which make up an architectural composition. Hence, the triple arch frontage, the Oamaru stone piers, the 45 foot tower (which was added in 1912 and has three bells cast in Belgium). Corners are faced with Oamaru stone quoins and the brickwork is English bond, with four rows stretcher, one header, four rows stretcher.

The interior, has a basic basilica plan with sacristy on north-east corner at junction of gallery and sanctuary. The walls are double red brick with concrete between, and further strengthened with hoops of iron, and faced with Oamaru stone. The sanctuary itself is apsidal - a feature of the Romanesque derived from the early basilica form. The church has a zinc pressed metal ceiling; a cast-iron staircase leads to organ loft, and the baptismal font of Oamaru stone has recently been restored to the church. There are seven stained glass windows in the sanctuary. The Hobday organ pipe is apparently the last of its kind to be built.

Conclusion:

St Patrick's Church, Timaru Rd, Waimate, is recommended for registration as a Category I as a place of special and outstanding historical and cultural heritage significance and value. This impressive Italianate Romanesque basilica is a distinctive design by the architect, Francis Petre which dominates its prominent position at the northern entrance of this small town. The church has been the focal point for the large Roman Catholic congregation in Waimate for over eighty years.

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Construction Professionalsopen/close

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.

Additional informationopen/close

Historical Narrative

ATL PAColl-6208-35 and PAColl-6208-34 (excellent of old and new - new not fully complete)

New Zealand Historic Places Trust (NZHPT)

New Zealand Historic Places Trust

Nomination Form

A copy of the original report is available from the NZHPT Southern region office