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The Sydney Morning Herald from Sydney, New South Wales, New South Wales, Australia • Page 9
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The Sydney Morning Herald from Sydney, New South Wales, New South Wales, Australia • Page 9

Sydney, New South Wales, New South Wales, Australia
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News 9 Weekend Edition, July 14-15, 2001 Back to the future as St Patricks celebrates a spirited renewal Malcolm Brown French plan fightback on wine front Anthony Dennis I "it i 1 -f If Australia's Catholics have a craving to return to their roots, they could well make a visit to St Patrick's, Grosvenor Street, Sydney, being rededicated today after an $8 million restoration. The renovations, supervised by architect Mr John Graham, discovered footings of a building that went up in 1796, and other remnants revealing the struggle by Australia's first Catholics to practise their religion. One of the early occupants, William Davis, an Irish Catholic transported for being a suspected weapons manufacturer, built on the site in 1810 and made his house available for Masses, when public celebrations of Catholicism were outlawed. Visiting priest Father Jeremiah O'Flinn was caught conducting Masses and was deported by Governor Macquarie to the United Kingdom in 1818. Such was the public outcry against persecution of Catholics that the British Government relented and the first officially sanctioned priests, the Revs J. J. Therry and Phillip Connolly, arrived in 1820. The deportation of Father O'Flinn made him something of a martyr, and the site became hallowed by Catholics. William Davis grew wealthy and dedicated part of his property to building a church, which was partially completed when he died in 1843, before being finished and dedicated in 1844. The first parish priest, Father John McEncroe, gave Catholic parish education and medical care a kick-start and built a con- WEEKEND PROPERTY Emoh ruo: mansion, no mortgage The $16 million expatriate Hollywood studio director Bruce Davey and his wife, Jo-Ann, paid for Craigend the Darling Point waterfront owned by One.Tel founder Jodee Rich and his wife, Maxine was Sydney's second-highest recorded residential sale. It was settled last week without any registered mortgage. The mortgage-free sale illustrated a trend identified in a study of Sydney's luxury properties that found 15 of the top 25 were owned outright. This contrasts with the flamboyant speculators who paid top prices in the late 1980s, securing mortgages that covered purchase cost, stamp duty and renovations. Lady (Mary) Fairfax's Fairwater, arguably Sydney's most prized waterfront, is without debt. Shopping centre supremo Frank Lowy fully owns his custom-built, two-bedroom, Point Piper waterfront, with tennis court. High-rise unit developer Harry Triguboff offers his unit buyers Meriton Finance, but needs none for his Vaucluse waterfront. The trend comes when middle Australia is refinancing its homes to buy boats and cars, take holidays and play the stock market. The study of the prestige property market also reveals the rich are busy buying up their neighbours, Monopoly-style. The owners of 13 of the top 25 properties have bought more than just that residence. At Vaucluse, the Hemmes family have added the $1.4 million Hermitage gatehouse to their three-block holding. At Balmoral, the Manassen family spent $7.5 million on one place, then $6.4 million on the adjoining clifftop property. At Bellevue Hill, the Packer fiefdom, Cairnton, has grown thanks to nine separate acquisitions by Kerry Packer and his late father, Sir Frank. The Fairfax family have not followed the expansionary trend, however. Jonathan Chancellor Sydney's 25 priciest properties Title Deeds in Domain Catholic Cafe the former Convent Chapel of St Patrick's has been transformed into a coffee shop featuring murals and stained glass windows. Photo: Rick Stevens are more consumer-friendly, like those from Australia. The French may also choose to highlight the weaknesses of New World wines, especially those from Australia. Mr Voss said Australian wines were "very drinkable and very But the world view, including that of France, was they lacked the "complexity" of French wines, crucially, as an accompaniment to food, something the French may choose to target. Some Australian wines tended to be high in alcohol content, making them less appealing to women. Mr Voss said there were indications, however, that Australia's winemakers were beginning to address deficiencies. Mr Voss is visiting Australia with Ms Kathleen Buckley, of The New York Times's Both will address the second ANZ Australian Wine Marketing Conference in Adelaide this week on the French fightback. Mr Voss said: "The French have a lot of pride and they're proud of their wines. The French don't work like Anglo-Saxons. I mean that they philosophise for a long period and then they act incisively." A protectionist France may also strike at one of the Australian industry's greatest fears: lobbying for tariffs in the European Union to make it more difficult for Australian wines to be sold in Europe. 1 Ie said there was merit for the Australia wine industry to build closer ties with New Zealand to build a stronger bloc against Europe. Mr Voss said the French were aware that Australia had its sights on the lucrative German market, where France traditionally had a strong presence. The French are about to fight back to stave off fierce competition from Australia's burgeoning wine export industry. Mr Roger Voss, the European editor of the respected Wine Enthusiast magazine, said yesterday the French, whose wine industry is about 10 times larger than Australia's, would devote millions of francs to target the weaknesses of Australian wines and other New World drops which are eroding traditional French market dominance. "It won't be France's Waterloo," Mr Voss said. "They won't be losing. The French have recognised the competition coming from Australia, though it took them a while. "They're beginning to invest in order to better compete. They see Australia as strong competition in the way it markets and presents its wine, in terms of labelling and branding," he said. Australia has almost as much to protect as France since Australia's wine exports are predicted to total $2 billion in 18 months, making it one of the leading and fastest growing export industries. In Britain, Australian wines are expected to surpass those from France soon as the most popular wines. Mr Voss said the French, who have big investments in the Australian wine industry, are ready to exploit Australian weaknesses by highlighting, through marketing, their own strengths. A failure to market their virtues properly has been regarded as a French weakness. 1 Ie believes the French plan to weed out their weakest wines and better "brand" their famed regions, such as Bordeaux, so that their wines the site, keeping some of the diggings open for public viewing through a window. Being unveiled today will be a Marian shrine, a statue of the Virgin Mary placed in a grotto built in 1828 to commemorate the expulsion of Father O'Flinn. Mr Graham said restoration and maintenance would be a challenge but the church had benefited from the sale and development of the rest of its land. vent and chapel for the Sisters of Mercy. That chapel has been painstakingly restored, a mural and stained-glass window being uncovered in the process. This restoration has been paid for by a Jewish family, one of whose members, the late Mr Bill Ritchie, was a Catholic who worshipped at St Patrick's. Mr Ritchie's widow and daughter have given $450,000 to the restoration, and the former chapel begins a new life on July 23 as a cafe and bookshop. With the wall above them saying solemnly Si Scires Donum Dei (If Only One Knew the Gift of God) and Sanctus Sanctus Sanctus Deus Sabaoth (Holy Holy Holy Lord God of Sabaoth), it could become a spiritual oasis. Mr Graham, a Quaker by upbringing who retains an interest in "things has sought to open spaces and co-ordinate St Patrick's is probably the busiest church in Australia, with 1,200 confessions a week, eight Masses a day and 10 on Sundays, a program that required the services of 10 priests. The president of the International Olympic Committee, Juan Antonio Samaranch, even went there to worship during last year's Olympics, and a memorial Mass there was held for his wife, who died during the Games. Stockbroker in hiding, say police, but family continues search "fastidiously reliable" and it was a surprise when he did not turn up. When the Reynolds office opened that morning, Seven staff rang, only to be told Mr Struk had not turned up for work, either. Although Reynolds is refusing to comment, the Herald has confirmed that Mr Struk took part in at least one unusual transaction involving a client's funds. The client authorised Mr Struk Kate McClymont and Elisabeth Sexton The wife and daughters of a high-profile stockbroker, Mr Peter Struk, who vanished mysteriously earlier this week, spent yesterday putting up posters of him around Sydney. Mr Struk, a director of the firm Reynolds and Co and a television commentator, was last seen leav would be home later. His wife, Shirley, said she grew increasingly worried when she could not raise him on his mobile phone. On Tuesday morning Mr Struk, who provided regular market commentary for Channel Ts Sunrise program, failed to arrive at the Epping studios for his 6.15 am appointment. According to the station's business editor, David Koch, Mr Struk was ing his city office on Monday about 3.30 pm. It is understood that after returning from lunch earlier he asked if there had been a phone call for him. He appeared to become quite agitated when told there had been none. About 3.30 Mr Struk rang home to tell his family which has put up a 1 0,000 reward he had a 9 pm appointment with a client and to buy $81,000 in government bonds. Instead, the money went to people in Townsville, Melbourne and Hurstville, in Sydney. One detective said: "We're quite happy with where we're sitting at the moment, it is just a matter of whether or not Mr Struk wants to be found. I believe at this stage he's disappeared of his own accord and we don't hold grave fears for his safety." 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