Blackwood: A timber that was perfect
“…he realised that the walls of a cathedral had to be not just good, but perfect. This was because the cathedral was for God… The combination of a hugely ambitious building with the merciless attention to the smallest detail…”
This excerpt from Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth gives some insight into the philosophy behind the building and adorning of a cathedral. It is an incredibly important job. The grandness of such a place of worship is apt, for a cathedral is not only a building, but it is also a symbol of faith.
In 1856, the foundation stone was laid for one such cathedral in Adelaide, the City of Churches, but the finishing touches have only just been completed.
In the magnificent St Francis Xavier Cathedral, a rare Canadian Casavant Freres pipe organ was sourced to complete a 9-year transformation. Originally built in 1927, and installed for 70 years in a Montreal Church, the 3500 pipes, weighing 16 tonnes, were painstakingly dismantled, transported and re-built.
Lex Stobie, a renowned South Australian master craftsman, was commissioned to undertake the fit-out of the façade, casework and other associated cabinetry around this incredible instrument. He found a timber that was perfect.
After looking at what was required, the obvious choice was Tasmanian Blackwood,” he said.
“It was perfect in colour and grain, which has given the exact look we were trying to create – something modern in a uniquely traditional environment. It was also available in all the required sizes.”
When you walk into a cathedral, you should catch your breath. The beauty and majesty of the space are designed that way.
“It is rare to be involved in a project of this significance. I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved in creating a part of Adelaide’s history.”