Long-forgotten crucifix restored at Blackfriars

What started with an ad – “Altar crucifix, looking for good home” – has become a significant art restoration project at Blackfriars.

The school’s Head of Creative Arts and Design Technology, Emily Kenny, has lovingly restored the crucifix over nearly 12 months. It will now have a permanent new home in the school’s chapel.

The plaster figure of Christ when it arrived at Blackfriars.

The solid wood cross and the plaster Christ figure were once part of St Joseph’s Church, on the corner of Main South Road and Anzac Highway, at Kurralta Park.

However, in 2005, that church was demolished to make way for what is now the Gallipoli Underpass.

The crucifix was put in storage until late last year, when the business went up for sale.

An ad was sent out, asking if anyone was interested in giving the wooded cross, which is almost 3m high, and the Christ figure, a “good home” – that good home turned out to be Blackfriars.

Mrs Kenny said working to bring the crucifix back to its original glory had been a real labour of love and an “amazing opportunity”.

“I was so pleased for the art department to be trusted with this project,” Mrs Kenny said. 

After arriving at Blackfriars, the Christ figure was repainted but, after some discussion, was redone in brown tones to replicate a statue of Our Lady currently in the chapel.

“The arms have been repinned, plastered, painted … the sign cut and laser etched,” Mrs Kenny said. 

“I’ve had lots of staff and students pick up a sander, brush or drill over the weeks assisting with the project.”

She said the crucifix would complete the transformation of the chapel, once a Uniting Church, into a “Catholic space of worship”.

The school’s chapel – as well as the church hall, which is now home to the Early Learning Centre – was originally the Prospect Highbury Wesleyan Church.

It was bought by Blackfriars in 1998, fully refurbished and renamed Chapel of St Albert the Great in honour of the school’s patron saint.

The crucifix will be installed in the chapel in the near future.


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