The stained glass windows in St Mark’s were all installed by Brooks Robinson, a major stained glass firm which came into existence in Melbourne in the 1850’s as importers of glass but who by the 1880’s were producing their own.
Their firm was very large and their premises were in Elizabeth St. Melbourne. They employed a number of different glass artists over the years, so there is often considerable variation in the style and quality of their windows. Generally, the earlier glass, before the First World War, is much better than the later. One of the reasons for this is the lesser standard of training of artists at this later time, as well as the difficulty of getting really good artists to do glass work. Most firms also tended to re-use old “cartoons” (life-size drawings) rather than drawing new ones, so it had become a bit of a “production line”.
There is glass by this firm in most Melbourne and Victorian churches.
These windows were the first stained glass windows placed in the church and are a memorial to Godfrey Burdett Wilson who died in 1919.
The main window (in traditional style) forms a triptych representing the ascension of Christ. The small windows underneath, which are in a more modern style, also form a triptych and are a symbolic representation of Jesus as King. The crown represents him as more than a king, the chalice in the middle the vessel used during Communion and the palm reminding us of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.
“God is Love”
A memorial to Mrs Maria Wilson who died in 1927.
This window is based on the scripture 1 John 4:16 and represents Christian Love. It depicts a girl and a little boy and perhaps reflects Jesus’ love of children.
When the Narthex was added in the early 1980s this window ceased drawing light from outside and is now rarely seen in its full beauty.
“The Good Samaritan”
A memorial to Ben Wilson (son of Maria Wilson) who died in 1953.
This window is a representation of the well-known parable told by Jesus in Luke 10:25-37. In the story a man is set upon by robbers, a priest passes by without helping him as does a Levite (notice the distant figure down the path).
This window was given by the parishioners and friends of St Mark’s as part of the church Centenary celebrations of 1992-1993 in thanksgiving for the pioneers of the church of St Mark.
St Mark, the writer of one of the Gospels, and obviously represented here because of the name of the church, is often depicted with a lion, his symbol.
“The Birth of Jesus”
A memorial to Coralie Violet and Francis Alfred Burmah who both died in 1969
This double window is in two parts. The first part on the left is the representation of the Nativity (Luke 2:1-7), with Joseph, Mary, the baby Jesus and a lamb to remind us of Jesus’ lowly origins.
The second part of the window (on the right) is a representation of Christ in the temple (Luke 2:21-35)
where he was consecrated to the LORD.
“Jesus Heals the Paralytic”
A memorial to Dr James Charles Weld, one of the first doctors in the District who died in 1923.
This window portrays one of Jesus’ healing miracles as recorded in Matthew 9:1-8.
The window was designed by Brooks Robinson in 1923 and is believed to show the firm still at its best.
“St Francis of Assisi”
This window is dedicated to Kimberley John Bailey who died in 1972 aged 14.
This window represents Saint Francis of Assisi, one of the most venerated religious figures in history and the Patron Saint of animals.
It is interesting to note the inclusion of Australian native animals in this window.
The artist for this window is Mr Derek Pearse.
A memorial to Robert and Mary Bodycomb, their children and descendents including great-grandson Pilot Officer Edward Miles Beaumont.
This window depicts the nature of faith. It is based on Jesus’ Parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25:1-13. Faith is represented by the female figure ever ready for the return of Christ. Her lamp is lit to remind us
God calls us out of the darkness and the cross a sign of being true to Christ.