Building the Diocese: Bishop Goold's architectural patronage 1848-1868

Paola Colleoni

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paper


This paper discusses the architectural patronage of James Alipius Goold in the early years of his episcopate. Arrived in Melbourne in October 1848, the main concern of Bishop Goold was the lack of clergymen and ecclesiastic buildings. Notably, by the end of 1858, every parish of Victoria was provided with a resident priest, the diocese counted more than fifty among churches and chapels, and architect William Wilkinson Wardell had been engaged for the erection of St Patrick’s cathedral, a building larger in scale than any other project attempted in Australia at the time.

Presenting the first two decades of Goold’s episcopate in connection with his architectural commissions, the paper delineates the context of the Gothic Revival movement in the social background of catholic colonial Victoria. The large amount of original correspondence preserved at the Melbourne Diocesan archives allows us to retrace key events of the time in the protagonists’ own words. The early history of Melbourne’s Roman Catholic cathedral provides an insight into the bishop’s architectural patronage, prefiguring how the relationship developed between Goold and Wardell led to the creation of some of the finest examples of Gothic revival architecture in the world.


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