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Brian Andrews (Hobart Archdiocese)

Tasmania is a treasure trove of significant items of Catholic and cultural heritage, according to Hobart Archdiocese’s heritage officer Brian Andrews, with most Tasmanians unaware of the wealth of treasure they possess.

“They are blissfully unaware of the fact that they have those magnificent, wonderful things down here as their Catholic heritage,” Mr Andrews said.

“They have every right to know about them and appreciate them and be proud of them,” he added.

Mr Andrews hopes that his latest book, Heritage Treasures: The Cultural Heritage of the Catholic Church in Tasmania, will go a long way to helping Tasmanians understand and appreciate their impressive cultural heritage.

The recently published book is a compilation of 50 of Mr Andrew’s 93 columns written for the Catholic Standard over the past nine years.

Items covered in the book include churches, paintings, chalices, missals, stained-glass windows and liturgical vestments. Several of the historic items date back hundreds of years.

The oldest item in his book is the baptismal font in St Mary’s Cathedral Hobart which was carved in the late 12th century.

During his 25 years as Heritage Officer, Mr Andrews has created an inventory of over 750 items, many of which had been forgotten or neglected before he rediscovered them.

Out of all the items he has rediscovered, he said the cathedral’s baptismal font gives him the most satisfaction, given its longevity, significance, and fascinating history.

“It’s been a baptismal font for 850 years,” he said. “And I imagine little children back in the beginning of the Middle Ages being baptised in it … it’s just a wonderful story.”

The font was discovered by renowned English architect and designer Augustus Pugin and transported to Tasmania by the first bishop of Hobart, William Willson, in 1844.

Heritage Treasures: The Cultural Heritage of the Catholic Church in Tasmania can be purchased online for $20 at


New book a treasure trove of Tasmanian gems (By Catherine Sheehan, Hobart Archdiocese)