Transposing Mediaeval Gothic to Colonial Australia: the case of St Patrick’s cathedral, Melbourne

Paola Colleoni

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paperpeer-review


St Patrick’s cathedral is the long-standing proof of Bishop James Alipius Goold’s vision for the colony of Victoria. Initiated in the 1850s, when Melbourne was scarcely 20 years old, the cathedral exemplifies Goold’s architectural patronage both in its refined Gothic lines and in its interiors, enriched with furnishings, stained glass and metalworks from leading European workshops. Rooted both in French and English Gothic tradition, St Patrick’s is an attempt at translating Mediæval tradition to colonial Australia. The analysis of the early influences on Goold’s architectural patronage, in addition to a scrutiny of the architectural section of the bishop’s library, reveals how his networks, both in Australia and in Europe, led him to commission the cathedral to the British born architect William Wardell. The early history of St Patrick’s, a building larger in scale than any other attempted in Australia at the time, and the only cathedral initiated and completed in the 19th century, highlights Goold’s ambitious contribution to the built environment of colonial Melbourne.


ConferenceColonialism and its Narratives: Rethinking the Colonial Archive in Australia
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