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St. John's Pro-Cathedral

In 1843 approval for the request was granted from Rome (Vatican) and Father John Brady, Father John Joostens (Belgian priest) and Patrick O'Reilly (a Catechist) arrived on a ship called 'Water Witch'

  • Historical Sites:Churches

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Description

The Cathedral is constructed of brick which has been covered with cement render and painted white. The gable roof is covered with shingles. The north and south facades are punctuated by arched windows. Buttresses have been placed at regular intervals down the length of these facades. The portico, which was removed in 1881, has been reconstructed at the western end of the building. The western gable end is punctuated by four arched windows, a pair above the portico and a single window either side of the portico. A lean-to extension is located at the eastern end of the southern facade. Entry to this section is through an arched door on the north facade. 

The church windows are of coloured glass set in wooden mullions. Those in the lean-to section are square, four paned windows. In 1843 approval for the request was granted from Rome (Vatican) and Father John Brady, Father John Joostens (Belgian priest) and Patrick O'Reilly (a Catechist) were soon to arrive in Fremantle on the ship 'Water Witch'.  Even though Father Brady was to stay in Perth for only two months he was able to claim a land grant for the church, on Victoria Avenue. This was to be the site of the first Catholic Cathedral, The Church of St John the Apostle and Evangelist (St John's Pro-Cathedral). Construction commenced on 27 December 1843. The foundation stone was laid on 16 January 1844. Brady left for Rome, in 1844, to ask for assistance and advocate the establishment of a new diocese for the Swan River Colony.

Following Bishop Brady's arrival back in Perth in January, 1846, the Church of St John the Apostle and Evangelist became a cathedral as it was now the seat of a Bishop. In 1965, the building was 'modernised' and used as a classroom for convent students and for external students studying English.  Between 1979 and 1980, work was done to restore the building and to remove additions and alterations which were unsympathetic to the original design, and the buildings was adapted for use as a museum by the Catholic Church.

St. John's is now used as a church once again.

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