Percy from the Pews

I HAVE a question for Hobart Anglican Dean Lindsay Stoddart on St David’s Cathedral, although it’s one that will probably irritate him. It is – what constitutes the launching of an appeal?

Monday’s Mercury reported the “launching” by Premier Paul Lennon of the “public appeal” for the restoration of the cathedral. It was accompanied by the generous donation of $1.5 million to the cause from the State Government, on behalf of Tasmania’s taxpayers.

On August 15 last year, the Anglican Church of Tasmania issued a media release headed: “Cathedral launches Restoration Appeal”. It said the appeal for restoring the cathedral would be launched the following day, with the release quoting Dean Stoddart as saying they would be seeking $4million-plus for the work and that “many of Hobart’s citizens” would want to see the cathedral fully restored.

Bishop John Harrower weighed in with his backing, noting that as the Diocese of Hobart was that month celebrating its 165th birthday (the establishment of the diocese being when Hobart became a city) it was thus “the perfect time” for the launching of the appeal.

So if the very much public launching was last August, what was Monday’s event, apart from a photo opportunity to mark the Premier opening the purse strings?

It was already on public record that the Premier would be providing some dosh for St David’s (having previously done so in the case of the Roman Catholic St Mary’s Cathedral), although not the extent of the St David’s help.

It was signalled by then Heritage Minister Paula Wriedt during last October’s debate in the Tasmanian House of Assembly on a Greens’ motion seeking financial support for restoring Holy Trinity Anglican Church, North Hobart.

The Minister disclosed that the Premier had recently met Bishop Harrower, that the Bishop had made it clear the cathedral was the priority, and that the Premier “would be sympathetic to that request”. But he would not be giving for Holy Trinity, a position he reiterated in Monday’s article.

I notice that the cathedral has a restoration appeal brochure out and my attention was caught in this by a photo of children, with the caption: “The heritage we leave to them is ours to protect now!”

The Anglican Church of Tasmania might well apply that important principle beyond just fixing up the cathedral.