St Andrew's Cathedral

Location: Central Business District
The foundation stone to Australia s oldest cathedral was laid in 1819, but not on its present site. Its life began in 1817 when Gov. Macquarie commissioned Francis Greenway to design a magnificent cathedral to be known as the Metropolitan Church. Commissioner Bigge had other ideas, and put the cathedral on hold and ordered Greenway to modify his half built school and make it a church (it became St James church).

The foundation stone for St Andrew's Cathedral had already been laid and it remained in the ground on the site of St Mary's Cathedral until 1837 when Governor Bourke had it dug up and relaid on its present, somewhat more cramped site. Architect James Hume directed the construction of the cathedral, which slowed to a halt when funds ran out during the 1840s financial depression. Work re-commenced in 1846 under Edmund Blackett who made considerable modifications to Hume's design, creating a Gothic Revival cathedral inspired by York Minister in the old Roman city of York, England. It was completed in 1868 and consecrated on St Andrews Day of that year. Its twin towers were completed in 1874.

In keeping with traditional church orientation, the building's front faced west and fronted a roadway parallel to George Street which was a continuation of Clarence Street. In 1949, it was felt inappropriate that the cathedral should back onto Sydney's main thoroughfare, George Street, and so the main entrance was moved to the eastern end, leaving the imposing front to face a blind alley off Bathurst Street. The cathedral houses memorials to early Sydney dignitaries and pioneers as well as a 1539 bible and beads made from seeds collected in the Holy Land. The southern wall incorporates stone from St Paul s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and the House of Lords, London.

1846-1868 - Sydney Square, Cnr George and Bathurst Streets, Sydney

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