Greatest school chapel turns 100

In a city with few historic landmarks, the heritage-listed Guildford Grammar School chapel is a stand-out.

Considered the best example of Edwardian Gothic architecture in Australia but never seen by the multimillionaire who paid a fortune for its construction, the chapel of St Mary and St George is celebrating its centenary with a series of concerts this week.

Internationally renowned didgeridoo player William Barton and the school choir have performed a specially commissioned work by composer Gerard Brophy to commemorate the chapel's 100th anniversary.

Historian Eddie Marcus, who wrote a book on the chapel, said it was "unquestionably the greatest school chapel in Australia".

In 1909, an early headmaster at the school, the Rev. Percy Henn, started raising funds for a chapel while in England - much to the horror of West Australians who wanted it spent on classrooms.

English philanthropist Cecil Oliverson offered to back the project, which cost the equivalent of $4.5 million in today's money.

Architect Walter Tapper modelled it on medieval chapels at Oxford University and insisted it be built by British workers.

Neither Oliverson nor Tapper visited WA to see the result.

Headmaster Stephen Webber said the chapel was the spiritual heart of the school.

The West Australian

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