Mother of Good Counsel Church
Catholic Diocese of Cairns
Mother of Good Counsel is a heritage-listed Catholic Church in Innisfail, Far North Queensland. Completed in 1928 (following the previous church’s destruction in a tropical cyclone) the church was again damaged in 2006 by Cyclone Larry, prompting this refurbishment.
Steve Gleeson Architects conceptualized a lighting scheme using aimed uplighting from wall brackets (replicas of the existing ones ‘bush engineered’ form water-pipe and flat-iron) to accent structural elements and reflect light off the high raked ceiling. MGF Consultants developed and realised this design concept:
The Nave is lit using sixteen lighting brackets each with three Lumascape ‘Omnio’ 70W CDM-R spotlights arranged somewhat like a candelabra. On alternating brackets one uplight is substituted for an MR16 spotlight – Lumascape ‘Omnio Mini’ – which provides supplementary reading light to the pews. Side Aisles are indirectly lit by MR16 spotlights, discretely located and aimed on to devotional items.
The Sanctuary is lit by concealed fluorescent battens which evenly wash bright, cool light across the ‘Heavens’. Due to difficult maintenance access, extra-long life fluorescent lamps and ballasts were specified with ‘planned failure’ for 60,000 hours of maintenance-free service.
The lighting effect sits well with the Catholic Liturgy: A distinct hierarchy is effected from the Sanctuary to the Nave, Aisles, and exterior. Devotional elements such as the Tabernacle, Cross, Stations, and Shrine are accented above the general illumination.
The lighting effect in the Nave may be described as ‘festive’ while the Sanctuary is more ‘austere’. The mix of indirect light and some direct elements gives an overall ‘soft’ but not ‘flat’ effect. An unusual effect is produced by intense uplight on the base of each pier producing a reflected image in the gloss of the side walls.
Vision is well provided for, with moderate general illumination levels suitable to the users including the aged. The extensive use of reflected light and illumination of vertical surfaces also provides excellent conditions for photography.