|Wild Geese Heritage Museum and Library
Portumna, Co. Galway
Brief History of St Mary's Cathedral
- 1788 - The "First
Fleet" arrives and Sydney is founded as a British convict settlement.
Catholics are among the convicts and soldiers.
- 1820 - The first
official Catholic Chaplains to the colony, Fr. John Therry and Fr. Philip
Conolly arrive on May 3.
- 1821 - The foundation
stone of the first St, Mary's Chapel is laid by Governor Lachlan Macquarie
and blessed by Fr. Therry. The site of the chapel is near the convict
barracks, on the edge of the town. It will be a stone building in a naive
- 1835 - Sydney's first
bishop, John Bede Polding OSB, arrives on September 13, as Vicar Apostolic
of New Holland. St. Mary's Chapel becomes his Cathedral.
- 1842 - Polding becomes
first Archbishop of Sydney.
- 1851 - Work on extensions
to the Cathedral commences, to designs by A. W. N. Pugin, the celebrated
English architect and promoter of a more correct gothic style.
- 1865 - The first St.
Mary's Cathedral is ruined by fire on the evening of June 29.
- 1868 - The foundation
stone of a new Cathedral is blessed by Archbishop Polding. The new
Cathedral is to be an outstanding example of gothic revival architecture,
designed by William Wilkinson Wardell.
- 1877 - Roger Bede
Vaughan OSB becomes Archbishop of Sydney.
- 1882 - The incomplete
Northern section of the new Cathedral is opened and dedicated.
- 1885 - Patrick Francis
Moran becomes third Archbishop of Sydney, as is soon created Australia's
- 1900 - The opened
section and central tower are completed and dedicated.
- 1905 - Free of debt,
the Cathedral is solemnly consecrated.
- 1911 - Archbishop
Michael Kelly succeeds Cardinal Moran.
- 1928 - Construction of
the Nave is completed, and Archbishop Kelly opens the almost-complete
Cathedral on September 2nd. (The total cost of construction amounted to
approximately 700,000 over a period of 60 years.)
- 1930 - Pope Pius XI
bestows on the Cathedral the title and dignity of a Minor Basilica.
- 1940 - Norman Thomas
Gilroy, first Australian-born Archbishop of Sydney succeeds Archbishop
Kelly and becomes Cardinal in 1946.
- 1970 - Pope Paul VI
visits Sydney, celebrating Mass in the Cathedral.
- 1971 - Archbishop
(later Cardinal) James Freeman succeeds Cardinal Gilroy.
- 1983 - Cardinal Freeman
retires and Archbishop Edward Bede Clancy is appointed Archbishop of
Sydney, being created Cardinal in 1988.
- 1986 & 1995 - Pope John Paul
II visits St. Mary's Cathedral.
- 1998 - 2000 - The Spires,
designed by Wardell, are built.
- 2001 - St Mary's is the
location for the celebration of the Ninth World Day of the Sick.
- 2001 - Cardinal Clancy
retires and Archbishop George Pell is appointed Archbishop of Sydney,
becoming Cardinal in October 2003.
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