PACKING UP: Sister Margaret Fields (left) and Sister Mary Redford with many of the items that will go under the hammer tomorrow
PACKING UP: Sister Margaret Fields (left) and Sister Mary Redford with many of the items that will go under the hammer tomorrow

History under the hammer

By ZOE SATHERLEY

'WILL it go for $100 or $1000?' is going to be the question on everyone's lips as a century of Catholic history goes under the hammer in Lismore tomorrow.

It is hard to estimate the value of the antiques, furniture and collectable memorabilia in the once-in-a-lifetime sale, said auctioneer Peter Butcher.

More than 400 items from the St Mary's Presentation Convent, behind Trinity College on Dawson Street, are being auctioned.

Everything from a baby grand piano to brass candelabra, solid cedar tables and carved mahogany chairs to fine crystal, silver, books and sought-after Carnival glass will be sold, and no reserve has been set.

The remaining eight Presentation sisters living in the convent are moving to new quarters and the building has been sold to the Catholic diocese and will be leased by Trinity College.

One item of special interest (lot 197) is a table made from local cedar and owned by Abbe Felix Schurr, who in 1877 built the first Catholic churches in Lismore and Coraki.

Revered as a great pioneer priest, French-born Abbe Schurr was a botanist of note and a professor of languages.

The son of a prosperous winegrower, he worked as a missionary and priest in West Africa, the West Indies and Ireland before coming to Australia in 1871, riding into the Northern Rivers on a packhorse with all his possessions.

He ministered to the needs of the parish for over 30 years.

An eminent musician, he always carried a small organ, bringing entertainment and spiritual sustenance through music and song to isolated timber camps and farmers.



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