Both St Patricks and St PaulÂÂs cathedrals have a fascinating history. While St PatrickÃ¢ÂÂs is a Roman Catholic Church St Pauls is Anglican which provides places of worship for both denominations.
St Pauls is to be found right in the centre of Melbourne and was built in 1852, 1880-1891. The cathedral was consecrated in 1891 with previous buildings on the site being a corn market then a church called St Pauls Parish Church. St Patricks Cathedral is an example of Gothic Revival architecture and is the tallest and largest church in Australia. Being built from bluestone and sandstone it stands out on the skyline of Melbourne. Its interesting to note that in 1974 Pope Paul VI titled the cathedral with the name of a minor basilica and in 1986 Pope John Paul II addressed the clergy during a visit to Melbourne.
This beautiful building was dedicated to and called after St Patrick, patron saint of Ireland, because at the time of being built there was a huge Irish community here. Due to the Gold Rush in 1851 William Wardell who was commissioned to design the cathedral had to delay his plans as many of the labour force were drawn to the goldfields. However a foundation stone was laid in 1858. St PaulÃ¢ÂÂs cathedral has a similar interesting history. It was built on a site that held the first public Christian services in Melbourne and demolished in 1885 where the present cathedral now sits. This magnificent cathedral is situated in a very busy area enticing visitors and worshippers from all around to attend the many services held.
Designed by William Butterfield, an eminent English architect, St PaulÂÂs had many problems as the designer refused to visit Melbourne to see how the work was proceeding. In the end he resigned from the project and Joseph Reed took over. He was responsible for designing some of MelbourneÂÂs fabulous buildings although the cathedral still remains as William Butterfields last masterpiece. The spires were constructed in 1926 with most of the exterior work being finished off in the 1960s. In 1989 the organ in the cathedral was restored with the help of an appeal by the National Trust and is still going strong.
St PatrickÂÂs Cathedral has a statue of Daniel OConnell, an Irish nationalist leader, in its grounds. Inside, the spectacular stained glass windows which had cracked were restored by craftsmen who used lime mortar and other materials from a bygone age.