Some History of
The Church of The Immaculate Conception - Geraldine


The Design of the New Church

The traditional Gothic style of architecture has been modified and adapted to modern conditions and requirements. The result is a church of specific character harmoniously blended with the natural environment.

A Striking Design

The building, which is executed in reinforced concrete and brick, presents a striking appearance against the delightful background of the Geraldine Native Bush Reserve. The building, which faces the corner of High and Peel Streets, is 44 feet in height at the apex of the roof, which is of Welsh blue slate. A striking feature is the square battlemented tower 50 feet in height, erected on the south side. The dressed facings for the windows, mullions, sills, heads and tracery work are carried out with Oamaru stone. Crosses surmount the apex above the main entrance and also the tower.

Four wide steps lead to the fine double doorway of the main entrance, while above are triple paneled Gothic windows. Smaller windows also provide light on either side of the large central windows. In keeping with Catholic tradition, a striking feature in a niche above the main entrance is a statue (five feet in height) of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, which will be illuminated at night.

Nave Seats 400

The vestibule is 16ft. wide by 8ft. deep. The nave, 72ft. by 334ft. 3in., provides accommodation for a congregation of between 350 and 400 worshipers. The floor is of polished red pine, and a dado, five feet in height runs round the walls of the nave and of the three porches. The interior arches are carried out in Oregon beams. Five marble holy water basins are built in at convenient positions in the church.

To the left of the entrance is the stairway leading to the choir gallery, choir vestry and bell-room, which are situated on the first and second floors of the tower respectively. The upper tower windows are of the louvre type.

There are also entrances on the north and south sides, and behind the porch on the south side is the baptistry, which forms the ground floor of the tower.

The Welsh-grey slate roof of the church was completed on Wednesday, 20th May, 1936, when the parish priest, Rev. Father M. J. Fogarty, affixed the last of the 10,000 slates.

The Air Conditioning and Ventilating System

The new church is unique in Canterbury in that it has a modern air-conditioning and ventilating system of the latest type, designed in conformity with the most recent findings of scientific research. An electric motor automatically stokes a furnace which heats and moistens air to a predetermined condition. The treated air is propelled by electrically driven fans and delivered evenly to various parts of the building. The oxygen-exhausted air is withdrawn by another fan into an outlet connecting with the upper part of the tower. The apparatus is capable of making a complete change of air throughout the building four times every hour while maintaining an even temperature. It is expected to be both efficient and economical in its operation.

A Gesture of Affection and Goodwill

The Rev. Father Fogarty has received donations from the Rev. Fathers T. Sammon, D. O'Donoghue and P. Hewitt, all of whom are now priests in his native Diocese of Killaloe in far distant Ireland. All three are old and tried friends of boyhood and school and college days. Their tangible expression of kind and generous friendship came as a ray of heartening sunshine to a fellow labourer in the vineyard of the Antipodes.

Web Designed first in 1999, updated 2010 and again for mobile in 2016 Lea Hullett