History of the Cathedral
On 8 February 1863, Bishop Salvado laid the foundation stone of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary on a reserve of land known as Victoria Square. Fr Martin Griver, later Bishop of Perth, was responsible for the building. The architect and master mason was Joseph Ascione. The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary was blessed and opened on 29 January 1865. Two porches and the spire were added by Bishop Matthew Gibney in 1905.
Bishop Patrick Clune CSsR, first Archbishop of Perth, set out to build a new Cathedral, the foundation stone of which was laid on 25 April 1926. It was opened at the height of the “Great Depression” on 4 May 1930. The original plan envisaged the present apse and transepts with a nave extending towards Murray Street. The intention was to finish it in Gothic style. Due to the events of the Depression, World War Two and its aftermath, no funds were ever available for this undertaking. For years, the iron bars stood out ready to link the two parts of the Cathedral.
The building was designed by the late Mr MF Cavanagh, architect, in the English style of Perpendicular Gothic. The builders chosen for the work were AT Brine and Sons. The main building stone was limestone. A Sydney firm, Melocco Brothers, made the sanctuary mosaics based on designs taken from the ancient Irish Book of Kells. All stained glass windows were designed and executed by the firm of John Hardman of Birmingham, England.
In 1973, Archbishop Sir Launcelot Goody, third Archbishop of Perth, decided to bring the sanctuary area into line with the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council. The central altar and lectern were added to the sanctuary. The redesigned sanctuary was consecrated on 12 August 1973.
On 27 August 2006, the Cathedral was closed by Archbishop Barry James Hickey, fifth Archbishop of Perth, for construction to begin on the conservation and completion of the Cathedral. During this time of construction, St Joachim’s Parish Church, Victoria Park became the Pro-Cathedral. The Cathedral was reopened on 8 December 2009, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary which is the Patronal Feast of the Cathedral.