Historical information

This commemorative plaque refers to the religiously themed window situated in the western (weather) wall of the St. Nicholas Mission to Seamen’s Church building in the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village. It was crafted circa 1928.


The window, to which this plaque belongs was once known as the Dr Connell Memorial Window, which was a feature of an external wall adjacent to the Women’s Children’s Wards of Warrnambool Hospital. Honorary Doctors had played a significant role in the operation of the hospital between the years 1900 to 1939. One of these doctors was Dr. Connell, who passed away in 1928.

A paragraph in the book ‘A History of the Warrnambool Base Hospital’ by Forth and Yule describes the role of the Honorary Doctors - “At the start of the period the senior-part time medical officer was replaced by the junior resident medical officer and control of beds and the right to operate were given to the honorary medical officers...and these men dominated the Warrnambool medical world in the years before the Second World War.”

Dr. Connell leased ‘Ambleside’, 192 Koroit Street, in the early 20th century, following Dr Teed who had previously run his medical practice there. In 1914 Dr Connell purchased the property and continued his private practice there until his death in 1928. He also took a prominent part in hospital work, both as physician and surgeon, and often acted as spokesmen for the Honorary Doctors.

According to colleague Dr. Horace Holmes’ subsequent notes, it was after the close of the First World War, and the following years of the world-wide pneumonic influenza epidemic, that Dr. Connell himself contracted pneumonia and died. His family and friends then recognised his work by gifting the memorial window in his honour to the Hospital.

By the mid-1970s the old wards at the hospital had been replaced and there was no obvious place for the window. Discussions between the previous and past Hospital managers, the Anglican Diocese, and Flagstaff Hill Planning Board, led to its installation in its present position in St Nicholas Seamen’s Church. It was installed without the bottom section of stained glass, which was inscribed as a memorial to Dr. Connell.


Flagstaff Hill’s Mission to Seamen was opened in 1981. Its conception was partly motivated by the offer of Stained Glass Memorial Windows from the local Warrnambool and District Base Hospital, which was undergoing multi-storey development in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. The Manager/Secretary at the time was keen to see the historical windows installed in an appropriate location.

The chapel was designed by a local architectural draftsman in conjunction with members of the Planning Board of Flagstaff Hill, and built by Mr Leon Habel. The vision of the designers included the hope that the church be used for formal worship such as weddings and funeral, and for multi-denominational special services such as War commemorations. The design is based on the ‘Mission to Seamen’ buildings in both Portland and Port Melbourne. These types of buildings were often erected to house social and worshipful activities for seamen.

The materials used in the building include sandstone recycled from nineteenth-century buildings demolished in Warrnambool and American slate tiles retrieved from the 1908 wreck of the FALLS OF HALLADALE.

Most of the chapel furnishings came from the Williamstown Missions to Seamen, which was consecrated in 1946 but later decommissioned. These artefacts range from the altar cloth to the hymn board and include a visually stunning round stained glass widow called ‘Christ Guiding the Helmsman’. However the provenance of this particular artefact, large western window, is local.


This plaque is significant because of its association with stained glass memorial window is of local, historical and social significance, linking local history and heritage with one of Warrnambool's doctors, Dr. Egbert John Connell (d. 1928), who gave 30 years of dedicated, medical service to the local citizens.

Physical description

Plaque, opaque, pale green glass rectangle mounted on white timber board and held in place with six decorative silver coloured clasps. Five rows of printed, capitalised text are fixed on the top surface.
The plaque is companion to the commemorative, stained glass window installed in the St. Nicholas Mission to Seamen's Church at Flagstaff Hill.
(The window was previously known locally as the Dr. Connell Memorial Window.)

Inscriptions & markings