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DESTRUCTION OF ST. MARY'S CATHE-1
DRAL, IN SYDNEY, BY FIRE.
Upon the arrival of the early train yesterday morn- ing it was reported in Maitland by some pas- sengers who had oome from Sydney by the ptc vions night's steamer, that St. Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral had been destroyed by fire on Thursday night. The news was confirmed by a telegram which we re-
ceived before ten o'clock from our Sydney Telegraphic Correspondent, and as its tidings were circulated general regret was expressed that such a calamity should have happened. The following is the telegram we received :
Last night, St. Mary's Catholio Cathedral was discovered on fire The flames spread rapidly, and in a few moments covered the building. The fire burned all night. The chalices, re- cords, and a few relics were saved ; everything else has been coniumcd. The loss is estimated at fifty thousand pounds (i50,100). The cause of the fire is supposed to be a gas explo
Another telegram, received by the Very Bev. J. Keating, V.G , and shown to us, Btates that the build- ing vaB burnt to the grannd, but happily no lives were lost ; and that the cauae was stippoBod to be a gas ex-
We learn that the total value of tho building and ita contents approaohed £200,000. Within the pastfew years an addition was made tothefront, which alone costsovcrai thousand pounds, and contained some of tho best stone oirving in the colony. Very great and expensive altera- tions had been made beneath the floor of tho Ohuroh some years ago, the space having been fitted up by Dr. Abbot Gregory as a monastery. The walls of the ohuroh wereaurronnded with paintings, whioh were very valuable, and have probably benn burnt. The interior of the roof was groined, and there was an immensity of otdsr-work about it ; the pillars supporting the roof, and the walla ot the chancel, were nil covered with polished cedar. The petra end the two large gallones in the oaves were of tho same inflammablo material, and it may therefore be readily imagined how quiokly the fire would spread after it had once gained a hold on a portion of the wood work. The roof tras shingled, exoept on. the portion recently added to the building, whioh wau slated ; and in this new addition the columna were of massive stone ; the principals supporting the roof were of ex- traordinary strength, eaoh weighing three tow, and b&ing braced in the strongest possible manner-¡tis pro- bable that some portion of this part of the Cathedral has been saved. The fioost organ in the oolonies stood in the southern gallery, and this has, doubtless, fallen . prey to the destructive element. It coat np wards of £1000. There was a magnificent library in the oorridor beneath the Cathedral, whioh, it is also feared, las been destroyed. The Arohbiahop'a résidence, the seminary and presbytery, whioh ara all contiguous to the building, we hear, were also destroyed. The Archbishop's residence WBB burning about half-pust ten o'olock. The alarm was first given about half-past nine o'olook, and within half-an-hour the flames wero issuing from every window of tho cathedral.
His Grace the ArohbiBhop was absent from Syd- ney, on a tour throughout the Southern districts of the orohdiooese, when the disaster happened. The build, ing was lighted with gas through a lar ge ohandelior, suspended from the roof, the pipe of whioh was oirrled tip an adjaoent column j there were also gas lights affixed to the walli of the cathodral, to the pillars, and suspended from the galleries-if gas esoapod from any of the pipes supplying those lights, and communicated with the small light whioh is kept constantly burning in the sanotuary, the explosion may easily have been occasioned ; and it would happen where there waB most wood work. In the absence of further information the way in which the great disaster happened can hardly be conjeotured. Tho belfry, with its fine peal of bells, was built about fitty yardB away from the cathedral, and escaped injury.