Bishop Robert Willson and William HallPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Arthur Garland

A stained glass window is a memorial to Robert William Willson (1794–1866), the first Bishop of Hobart Town, and his Vicar-General, William Hall (1807–66). It is in the style of a fourteenth century Gothic window; the five lancets depict pivotal scenes from the Gospel and the tracery at the top of the window details heavenly images. A clear glass protector has been installed on the outside of the window to protect it from wind load, water damage, hailstones, and accidental breakage.

The exquisite new restored Hardman Studio window, is one of the most important nineteenth century windows in Australia.  It was designed by the leading English stained glass maker of the period, John Hardman and Co, Birmingham.

Then the newly-consecrated bishop of Hobart, Dr Robert Willson, came to London appealing for volunteer missionaries, and Hall promptly offered his services. With the bishop's party he reached Hobart Town in May 1844. Until the cessation of transportation nine years later,  Dr Willson devoted most of his attention to the cause of reform among prisoners of the Crown and the mentally ill. He therefore made Hall his vicar-general with control of diocesan administration, the vicar had wide powers which he knew how to use.

At the adjourned meeting of the Catholic community held on Sunday in connection with the movement to raise a tribute to the memory of the late Right Rev. Dr. Willson and the Very Rev. Dr. Hall, the committee recommended as to the form the memorial should take that the great chancel window of St. Mary's Cathedral be supplied with stained glass, comprising such representations and inscriptions as his Lordship the Bishop may deem advisab!e, and that the window be a joint memorial to the late Bishop and Vicar General. The report further suggested that a monumental brass, inlaid on a marble slab, and bearing an epitaph, be placed in the transept of the Cathedral over the tomb of the late Vicar General. The report was unanimously adopted. Some patterns of memorial windows and brasses were handed round the room for examination. The cost of the stained window and monumental brass together is estimated at £400.
Launceston Examiner (Tas), 29th August 1867

The ceremony of inaugurating and unveiling the grand memorial window erected in St. Mary's Cathedral, Hobart Town, to the memory of the late Bishop Willson ,and Vicar-General Hall, took place on 22nd inst., pontifical high mass being celebrated on the occasion. The dedication sermon was preached by Bishop Murphy.
Launceston Examiner, 26th September 1869.


Address:164 Harrington Street, St Mary`s Cathedral, Hobart, 7000
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -42.881057
Long: 147.31919
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Window
Monument Theme:People
Monument Designer:John Hardman & Co (Birmingham, England)


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Wednesday 22nd September, 1869
Source: MA,ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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