St Patrick's Cathedral
Lot 1 Marist Place has been a centre of worship since the 1820s, the current Cathedral being the fourth Catholic church to stand on the site. On February 19 1996 the old Cathedral was destroyed by fire and after a long and careful rebuilding programme the current Cathedral was completed and dedicated on November 29 2003. Not just one building but a beautiful complex of buildings rose from the ashes. Old and new buildings sit comfortably together, giving testimony to the wonderfully creative design of Romaldo Giurgola of MGT Architects who also designed Parliament House in Canberra. The Cathedral won the Sir Zelman Cowan Award for Architecture in 2003.
The precinct elements include the Sacred Heart Chapel (the old Cathedral) which gives access to the Cathedral, the Cathedral hall, offices and Presbytery, and Murphy House with piazza area in front affording a gathering place for parishioners before and after services. Finally a serene yet modern cloister, fashioned from that ubiquitous Australian building material, corrugated iron.
A Cathedral of the 21st century, simple, airy and luminous, the carefully chosen artworks were installed over the two years following the reopening, forming one cohesive whole with the building. Major artworks include artist Robin Blau’s entry gates of linished steel with delightful flora and fauna, the same artist creating the Aureole, often recognised as a crown of thorns, which seems to hover and shimmer above the altar. Windows throughout the Cathedral are by world renowned glass artist Klaus Zimmer while Anne Ferguson’s stonework includes the altar, Baptismal Font, pool and flooring throughout. Kevin Perkin’s exceptional woodwork includes Tasmanian Oak pews and ambo, chapel altar and presider’s chairs created using 1500 year old huon pine. The German Madonna in the Mother of Grace Chapel is by an unknown artist from Southern Bohemia dating from c1420.
The Cathedral is open every day for services and individual devotion. Tours can be arranged for coach groups and schools by phoning the Cathedral office 02 9630 1115. http://www.stpatscathedral.com.au.
St Patricks Cathederal is serviced by the free shuttle bus; the route includes Phillip Street restaurants, Parramatta Station, Westfield, Parramatta Park, Riverside Theatres, Parramatta Stadium, the Leagues and RSL clubs, and Eat Street (Church Street).
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