The Cathedral

The window was recently remade after the original suffered due to the extreme Darwin weather

The window was recently remade after the original suffered due to the extreme Darwin weather

The Cyclone Tracy Memorial Window

Set into the harbour wall, behind and to the right of the altar, is a contemporary-style stained glass window. Designed by Darwin artist George Chaloupka, it represents fishing nets and the upsurge of waves during a cyclone. The coloured glass in pastel shades was imported from England.

This Dalle de Verre window was financed by a Gollin Kyokuyo Trust fund, and designed by George Chaloupka. Gollin Kyokuyo was a joint fishing venture operating out of Darwin at that time and had lost seven sailor/fishermen and three steel hulled trawlers out of six that had been in the harbour that night.

George Chaloupka was commissioned to design the Cyclone Tracy memorial window by the architects. The following are the notes the designer has supplied.

‘Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together under one place; let the waters bring abundantly the moving creature that has life’ Genesis 1. The sea where all life began … The sea where all life ends.

The storms of the sea: cyclones, typhoons, tsunamis cause untold damage on the land and the sea surface, but the same winds drive immense bodies of water before them, forming surface currents ‘ploughing’ the sea. The spent surface water is replaced by the upwelling water rich in nutrient salts which stimulates new growth of marine plants. The herbaceous animal plankton thrives and the sea becomes fertile for fish again.  The sea where life begins anew.

The external shapes of the window repeat shapes associated with the sea and its movement, as do the colour tonalities.’

George Chalpoupka, Darwin, February 1976

The Lord’s Table

Our Communion Table, presented by the Diocese of Bunbury, is a huge jarrah log left rough on the long sides. It is highly polished and is supported by two small half logs. Brass crosses are mounted on either end. The log was prepared by Bunning Bros Pty Ltd at Dean Mill, outside Manjimup, by Roy Britten and Len Creasey, and the top was prepared in Bunnings’ glue lamination factory in Perth. It was transported to Darwin by Westrail and State Shipping Services.

The Memorial Chair

On the south side of the chancel stands a chair presented to the old church in memory of Sister Margaret De Mestre, a nursing sister who was killed aboard the vessel Manunda during a Japanese air raid on Darwin. The chair was rescued after Cyclone Tracy and restored.

The Christus Rex

The Christus Rex was made in 2004 by local craftsman Craig Guérin to replace a tapestry of the crucified Christ which had been given at the consecration of the cathedral but which had deteriorated beyond repair. The figure is made of wrought iron, with a bronze finish and the cross is of wood.

The words Christus Rex are Latin for ‘Christ the King’. Traditionally a Christus Rex depicts not (as does the more common ‘crucifix’) the crucified Jesus on the cross but rather the transformed and resurrected Christ. As such it is a fitting prophetic sign for this Christ Church Cathedral which is dedicated to Christ the King, and its worshippers are thereby committed to bring to fullness the kingly rule of God revealed in life and death of Jesus.

On the head of Christ the crown of thorns has been transformed into a kingly crown; the arms are no longer bent in suffering but are straight in power and blessing. The naked body of the crucified one has been covered by the alb of our ‘great high priest’ (see the Letter to the Hebrews) whose gift of himself unto death removed the separation between God and humanity which no gift of animals or other foods could do.

The symbol on the alb is the drawing which Karl Strehlow made to iconise the Holy Trinity for the people of Central Australia. It is a reminder that this cathedral is the cathedral of the whole Diocese of the Northern Territory, and not just the local church of this Darwin parish.

Art Works

The Baptism of Jesus was painted by the Reverend Peterson Nangjamirra (who was from Western Arnhem Land) in a mixture of traditional and non traditional styles.

Annunciation was painted by Christine Yambeing in1993. The power and the wonder when Mary is told that she will be the mother of the Saviour shows through in this painting. The sweep of the Angel’s wings signifies a sense of real protection. Christine says ‘It means a lot to us that Jesus came into the world as a little baby. We know how Mary must have felt when she and Joseph were on their way to Jerusalem, trying to find a place where the Child could be born. Some of us, whose paintings are in this book, have been born in the bush, maybe under the open sky with the stars shining above, maybe with only a bough shelter to keep off the sun and the rain. So it is that, in different ways, we have given our own thoughts to the birth of Christ.’

The Compass Rose

Set in the pavement at the main entrance is a Compass Rose. The Compass Rose is used widely by the family of Anglican Churches. It is the logo of the Inter-Anglican Secretariat, and is used as the identifying symbol of the Anglican Communion.

The Compass Rose was originally designed by the late Canon Edward West of New York. The modern design is that if Giles Bloomfield.

The centre holds the Cross of St George, reminding Anglicans of their English origins. St George is the patron saint of England, and Anglican churches in England often fly the St George flag. The Greek inscription ‘The Truth Shall Make You Free’ John 8: 32 surrounds the cross, and the compass recalls the spread of Anglican Christianity throughout the world. The mitre, the headgear worn by a bishop, at the top emphasises the role of the episcopacy and apostolic order that is at the core of the Churches of the Communion.

A number of Cathedrals around the world have incorporated the compass rose symbol into their architecture. At Canterbury Cathedral in England it is set in the nave, and was dedicated by the Archbishop of Canterbury at the final Eucharist of the Lambeth Conference in 1988. The Archbishop dedicated a similar symbol in Washington Cathedral in 1990 and one in the original design in New York Cathedral in 1992.