St Marys Cathedral launches photo book to capture 165 years of rich Catholic history

03 Feb 2022

By Amanda Murthy

A stack of St Mary's Cathedral book on a table.
The St Mary’s Cathedral A History in Photographs book was launched on 7 December 2021. Photo: Ron Tan.

The rich culture between church and the wider community was celebrated at the launch of a book commissioned by Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB titled St Mary’s Cathedral ‘A History in Photographs.’

Themed ‘Cathedral in the City,’ the event on 7 December 2021 at St Mary’s Cathedral, began with a Mass, the book launch provided an opportunity for the community to celebrate the rich history of St Mary’s and its place as the Mother Church of the archdiocese.

St Mary’s Cathedral Dean Fr Sean Fernandez said the 123-page book is a wonderful celebration of the unique architecture and art of the Cathedral – and an idea which came from Archbishop Costelloe in discussion with Archdiocese of Perth Archive Office Director, Odhran O’Brien.

“Over the years, many people commented on the beauty of the Cathedral and they thought it would a good idea to have a momento which visitors could take away to remember their visit,” Fr Fernandez cited.

“The book was a collaborative effort just as the Cathedral was – many hearts, minds, hands coming together to create something beautiful.

“St Mary’s will continue to evolve as all things do and the book captures her beauty at a particular point in time for this generation and generations to come,” he added.

  • The launch of the St Mary’s Cathedral A History in Photographs book is a tribute to the iconic building’s influence of rich Catholic tradition, and top landmark. Photo: Ron Tan.

There is a combination of historic and contemporary images of the Cathedral in the book. The historic images were curated by Leigh Barrett and Emma Bank, who are Executive Directors of Heritage Perth.

The contemporary images of the art and architecture were curated by Sr Kerry Willison RSM and Geraldine Schivardi from the Archdiocese’s Centre for Luturgy, accompanied by theological reflection.

The introduction was provided by Perth architect Dr John Taylor, and Odhran O’Brien and focused on the builders of the cathedral – namely Bishop Martin Griver and Archbishop Patrick Clune.

The overall editing and production of the book was managed by Odhran O’Brien, Anne Wilson and UWA Publishing.

Mr O’Brien said there is no denying the impact that St Mary’s has both to the Catholic culture and beyond.

“The history of the Cathedral shows its change over time to its current maturity as a culturally and demographically diverse community which is served by a group of cathedral clergy who are cognizant of that diversity and who work hard to support it,” Mr O’Brien explained.

“The Cathedral is listed as one of the top tourist destinations in the city and it is listed on the Heritage Council’s State Register as a place of heritage significance.

“Part of the cathedral’s significance is its setting with a precinct of social welfare organisations including the Royal Perth Hospital, the Catholic Migrant Centre and Mercedes College among others. The site also has a long association with the Wadjuk Noongar people and was called Wid’dogootogup, place for storing Zamia Nuts,” he concluded.