A LANDMARK IN THE CATHEDRAL’S HISTORY
The Opening and Dedication of St Peter’s Cathedral on 3 June 1875 by Bishop James Francis Turner was a gala occasion in Armidale, attended by large numbers of the town’s population. Among those responsible for the event and present that day included the architect, John Horbury Hunt; the Vicar, Septimus Hungerford; the builders, William Seabrook and John Thomas Brown and the cabinet-makers, Joseph Herchberg and John Lewis, who supplied the new cedar pews, which they had ‘morticed and pegged’ to a design by Bishop Turner.
Many of the furnishings from the first St Peter’s Church, built in 1850, were used in the Cathedral but Bishop Turner planned to replace these as soon as possible. One such was the pulpit. The Consecration of the Cathedral could take place only when the building was debt-free, before which the Bishop was eager to have installed a ‘worthy’ pulpit from which the Word of God was proclaimed. This he accomplished in 1884, designing and then ordering from England the fine sandstone pulpit which stands today. The Cathedral was consecrated, debt-free, in 1886.
The Armidale Express, founded in 1865, frequently carried news of the churches in Armidale, and had reported the Cathedral’s Opening and Dedication service in detail. Other churches which had been built by the time the Cathedral was dedicated in 1875 were the first Roman Catholic Church, a small Chapel, in 1848; the first Presbyterian Church, in 1859; the first Wesleyan Church, in 1864; and the first Seventh Day Adventist Church in the 1840s, with a new Church in 1868.