Sacred Heart Cathedral, Bendigo

Sacred Heart Cathedral, Bendigo

Sacred Heart Cathedral, Bendigo is a Catholic cathedral located in the provincial city of Bendigo, Victoria, Australia. It is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sandhurst, Sandhurst being an earlier name for Bendigo. The Diocese covers much of north-central Victoria.

Sacred Heart Cathedral is one of Australia's largest churches and the second tallest after St Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne. It is the last gothic cathedral to ever be built in the world. It is also exceptionally large for a country Cathedral in Australia, and its construction was made possible chiefly through the estate of Dr Henry Backhaus (1811-1882), a German from Paderborn and the first Catholic priest on the Bendigo goldfields. Backhaus was very skilled in financial matters and accumulated considerable property - not least through encouraging his gold-mining parishioners to contribute some of their findings to the work of the church. Backhaus left his wealth for the benefit of the church and enabled the Cathedral, among other things, to be built.

In 1895, the Augustinian Dr Martin Crane, first Catholic bishop of the diocese, called for competitive designs for a cathedral from several architects. The winning architect was William Tappin of the firm Reed, Barnes and Tappin a firm established by Joseph Reed, one of Melbourne's most significant architects. It was built in the Gothic Revival style of sandstone quarried from the Geelong area.

The large pipe organ, built by Bishop and Son of London, was installed late in 1905.

After a long interval, work recommenced on the cathedral in 1954. The later works were designed by Bates, Smart and McCutcheon, the successor of Reed, Barnes and Tappin. They were completed in 1977. The spire was of lighter construction than that originally designed being steel framed and clad with a masonry veneer.

Sacred Heart Cathedral is 75 metres long and has a ceiling height of 24 metres. The main spire is 87 metres high.


* Arneil, Stan; "Out Where the Dead Men Lie" (The Augustinians in Australia 1838 -1992) Augustinian Press Brookvale (1992).

External links

* [ Sandhurst Diocese website]

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