Geraldton Cathedral to be restored to original glory
With a multi-million-dollar restoration now underway, Geraldton’s St Francis Xavier Cathedral, is set to return it to its original glory. Photo: Graeme Gibbons.
2016 marks the 100th year since work began on Geraldton’s St Francis Xavier Cathedral, often described as the most unique Cathedral in Australia.
With a multi-million-dollar restoration now underway, it is set to return it to its original glory envisaged by priest/architect, Msgr John Cyril Hawes.
Geraldton Diocesan Director of Heritage Fr Robert Cross said the new precinct will pay tribute to Msgr Hawes whose amazing works span the globe.
Msgr Hawes first set foot on West Australian soil in November 1915.
In the 24 years that followed, he went about building and designing some of the Mid-West’s and the State’s most significant buildings.
Fr Cross went on to explain that at the centre of Msgr Hawe’s work is St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral.
Msgr Hawes wanted the Cathedral design to reflect the strength and solidarity of the Catholic Church. He did this through solid stone walls, massive Romanesque nave columns and a 15m-diameter dome supported by sturdy aches and ceiling timbers.
When it was finally finished 23 years later, it was opened by then Perth Archbishop Prendiville in a celebration that lasted four days.
“With $2.5million already raised from public donations, a similar amount is still needed to complete the interior work on the Cathedral as well as the surrounding grounds,” Fr Cross said.
“As well as the Cathedral conservation work, a Monsignor Hawes heritage museum and café/restaurant is currently being built in the Cathedral grounds at a cost of $3.6m of which $2.2 million has been contributed by the from the State Government’s Royalty for Regions program and Lotterywest,” he said.
“This Cathedral is a national treasure – there is nothing like it anywhere in Australia.
“For this reason we are hoping the Federal Government will provide a generous grant for the Cathedral project that matches what has been made by the State Government and donor contributions so we can complete the planned works without further delay and stem any increased costs we are now incurring.”
Campaign Co-ordinator Gerry Eastman mentioned how during the recent harvest, the fundraising campaign gratefully received donations of grain and cash from farmers in the region
Expressions of interest for leasing the Café/Restaurant are currently being accepted
With The West Australian