An expedition into the city

“Despite the many hardships and obstacles faced by the early Catholics in Australia, Catholicism was able to take root and survive. This was largely due to the courage, strength and faith of the pioneering people, the laity, priests, sisters and brothers who kept the faith alive and set up parishes, schools, hospitals and religious communities. As the settlement of Australia expanded, so too did the Catholic Church.

Catholicism, a religion that was initially persecuted and unlawful in the early colony, was eventually permitted and recognised by the colonial government. In 1820, Fathers John Therry and Phillip Conolly became the first Catholic priests to enter Australia with government approval. During the 1800s many people, such as Caroline Chisholm continued to follow the apostolic commissioning given by Jesus and described in the last chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, “Go out to all nations and proclaim the Good News.”

You don’t have to be religious to appreciate the beauty and tradition of these historic sanctuaries..Discovering Melbourne by train in late April, a group of U3A members decided to visit the historic churches we have around the city.

 Thank you Natalie Lim for providing these beautiful photos.

St Michael’s on Collin’s street

5St Michael’s is a unique church in the heart of the city. Unique for our relevant, contemporary preaching that embraces inner wellbeing as our core message.

Sunday services include a mix of traditional and modern presentations. Inspirational music is integral, and most Sunday services include guest musicians, who perform in-between readings from the Bible, New Scientist Magazine, Time Magazine, Australian and International poets as well as current news articles.

St Michael’s offers a wide variety of experiences for growth and change. It is a place which affirms and encourages the best expression of who you are and who you can be, not only through the Sunday service but numerous wellbeing programs and our commitment to counselling and psychotherapy.

We believe faith, spirituality and a meaning to life are vital ingredients for our health and wellbeing and that there is a need to get hold of a more authentic religious understanding and to express it more confidently and diversely.

Sunday services commence at 10 am.
Free Entry

St Patrick’s Cathedral

Front view of cathedralBuilt from bluestone and sandstone, St Patrick’s Cathedral is a leading example of Gothic-revival architecture, built in stages between 1858 and 1940.
A place of worship, prayer and reflection in today’s busy world, St Patrick’s is the tallest and largest church building in Australia.

The Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Patrick (colloquially St Patrick’s Cathedral) is the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne in Victoria, Australia, and seat of its archbishop, currently Denis Hart.
In 1974 Pope Paul VI conferred the title and dignity of minor basilica on it. In 1986, Pope John Paul II visited the cathedral and addressed clergy during his Papal Visit.

St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne. The statue in the foreground is of the Irish nationalist leader Daniel O’Connell
In 1974, Pope Paul VI conferred the title and dignity of minor basilica on it. In 1986 Pope John Paul II visited the cathedral and addressed clergy during his Papal Visit.
The cathedral is located on Eastern Hill in Melbourne, in an area bounded by Albert Street, Gisborne Street, Lansdowne Street and Cathedral Place.
Just to the east across Gisborne Street is St Peter’s Church, constructed from 1846 to 1848, which is the Anglican parish church of Melbourne.
In 1848, the Augustinian friar James Goold was appointed the first bishop of Melbourne and became the fourth bishop in Australia, after Sydney, Hobart and Adelaide.

Negotiations with the colonial government for the grant of five acres of land for a church in the Eastern Hill area began in 1848.
On 1 April 1851, only 16 years after the foundation of Melbourne, the Colonial Secretary of Victoria finally granted the site to the Roman Catholic Church. Goold decided to build his cathedral on the Eastern Hill site. Since the Catholic community of Melbourne was at the time almost entirely Irish, the cathedral was dedicated to St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.
William Wardell, Melbourne’s foremost ecclesiastical architect was commissioned to prepare plans for a cathedral, but the project was delayed by severe labour shortages during the Gold Rush of 1851, which drew almost every able-bodied man in the colony to the goldfields, and the foundation stone was not laid until 1858. An earlier building by stonemason David Mitchell (father of Nellie Melba and later partner of John Monash was demolished for the cathedral.

The cathedral was designed in the Gothic style of early Fourteenth Century, based on the great medieval cathedrals of England, a style at the height of its popularity in the mid-19th century. The nave exhibits ‘curvilinear traceries’ in the principal windows of circa 1300 to 1350s; the transepts have traceries in Geometric Decorated, a style of the immediately previous thirty years in England. The eastern arm with its chevet of chapels in the French manner is still principally in the English late Thirteenth Century style, giving the most complete essay attempted in that style during the Nineteenth Century. William Wardell was a remarkably ambitious and capable architect; he went on to design the second St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney in a similar style, even larger than St Patrick’s, but with a completely English square East End.

The cathedral is built on a traditional east-west axis, with the altar at the eastern end, symbolising belief in the resurrection of Christ.
The plan is in the style of a Latin cross, consisting of a nave with side aisles, transepts with side aisles, a sanctuary with seven chapels, and sacristies.
Although its 103.6-metre (340 ft) length is marginally shorter than that of St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney, St Patrick’s has the distinction of being both the tallest and, overall, the largest church building in Australia.

St Francis

St Francis’ Church is the oldest Catholic Church in Victoria, Australia.
Located on the corner of Lonsdale Street and Elizabeth Street, the main body of the church (with various alter additions) is one of a very
few buildings in central Melbourne which predates the Gold Rush of1851.
The church’s foundation stone was laid on 4 October 1841, the feast day of St Francis of Assisi, to whom the church is dedicated.
It was commissioned by Fr Patrick Geoghegan, the first Catholic priest in the Port Phillip District of New South Wales, which became the separate state of Victoria in 1851.

6The first mass was held in the completed nave on 22 May 1842 and the completed church blessed on 23 October 1845, though the elegant cedar ceiling was not installed until 1850. In 1848,
St Francis’ became the cathedral church of the first Catholic Bishop of Melbourne, James Goold, and continued as a cathedral until 1868,
when the diocesan seat was moved to the still unfinished St Patrick’s Cathedral (which was not formally consecrated until 1897).
The ornate Ladye Chapel on the west side was designed by George and Schneider and constructed in 1856-58, with decoration by Le Gould and Souter.
A new sanctuary designed by Reed and Barnes was added in 1878-9 in the Renaissance style. The front porch was added in 1956,
incorporating the roof of a smaller porch added in the 1850s.Centrally located in the Melbourne’s CBD,

St Francis’ has never lost its place as one of the city’s most popular and widely used churches, and today is the busiest church in Australia,
with more than 10,000 worshippers attending each week. Since 1929, it has been a centre of Eucharistic Life in the care of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament.
The church is listed with Victorian Heritage Register, the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) and the Australian Heritage Commission.
Although there have been many changes made to the building, including the erection of a new tower, a gift from the Grollo family,
to house the original 1853 bell imported from Dublin, the church remains essentially as it was designed by Samuel Jackson.