St Mary's Cathedral to undergo significant restoration

Decrease font size
Increase font size
Print this page
Email to friend
Share to Facebook
Share to Twitter
Home > Media > News > St Mary's Cathedral to undergo significant restoration
St Mary's Cathedral to undergo significant restoration

St Mary’s Cathedral in Hobart is set to undergo significant restoration work to address deterioration, as well as improving lighting and heating, and also to bring to fulfilment some of cathedral’s original design.

The current St Mary’s Cathedral building was designed by Tasmanian gothic revival architect Henry Hunter, who took over the project after the first cathedral building had to be largely dismantled and rebuilt following poor construction,

Now almost 140 years since the opening of the rebuilt cathedral, a large restoration work is set to begin.

Significant work is planned to take part in three stages.
Stage one will see increased seating capacity within the main body of the cathedral; restoration of the sanctuary to the building’s original design and in keeping with developments in liturgy; increased mobility access; refurbishment of the organ gallery and choir loft; upgrading of the lighting and climate control within the cathedral; and the exhumation and reinternment of four early bishops, along with Tasmania’s first priest Fr Philip Connolly, in the cathedral crypt.

The final stage of the restoration project will involve the construction of the cathedral spire which was part of the cathedral’s original plans, but never completed.

The first stage of the restoration project is expected to cost around $4 million.

The St Mary’s Cathedral Restoration Project was officially launched by Archbishop Julian during Sunday Mass at the cathedral on July 19.

“Today, with joy and hope, I launch the restoration project for St Mary’s Cathedral,” Archbishop Julian said.

This restoration will faithfully reflect the liturgical and devotional heritage of this beautiful cathedral, carrying on the vision of [the first Bishop of Hobart] Bishop Willson.”

The last major work on the interior of St Mary’s Cathedral was undertaken around 60 years ago by Archbishop Guilford Young.  Interviewed prior to the launch, Archbishop Julian said that there is now “a noticeable deterioration in the interior fabric and an evident need for restoration”.

The restoration will enhance the classical lines of the cathedral, enriching what is already there, according to His Grace.

“The cathedral itself is beautiful – it's a beautiful building,” he said.

“A lot of what we've done is sought to bring the cathedral to its completion, and all the time deeply respecting the original design and the way that it was intended to operate.”

He noted the importance of the cathedral for visitors, and that people are stirred spiritually by what they experience when they enter.

“When people come in, they really have a sense of the faith that's expressed in the building, the architecture and the arts,” His Grace said.

“It is the cathedral for the whole of Tasmania. It's not just the Cathedral Parish, but it is the mother church of the Archdiocese of Hobart, and therefore it is important for all Catholics. And it is part, too of our heritage for Tasmania.”