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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

13 May 2005

Historic Perth cathedral a Federal Budget winner


Perth's historic St Mary's Cathedral will benefit from much-needed restoration work with a $3 million allocation in this week's Federal Budget.

Announcing the funding detail today, Environment and Heritage Minister Senator Ian Campbell said St Mary's comprised magnificent buildings that were the foremost places of worship for Western Australia's Catholic community.

The landmark gothic-style Cathedral is a combination of two buildings in Victoria Square, Perth. The first was opened in 1865 and the second, built to replace the first, was opened in 1930. The pressure and cost restraints of the Great Depression meant the new Cathedral could not be completed, so it was joined to part of the first building.

The Commonwealth funding contribution will go towards a major reconstruction project that will finally see the cathedral completed and enable an expansion of the 900-strong congregation to 1200 people. The completed cathedral will include elements of 19th, 20th and 21st century building.

Senator Campbell acknowledged his colleague, WA Senator and Justice Minister Chris Ellison, for his strong advocacy on behalf of the Cathedral's fundraising efforts.

"This grant recognises that St Mary's is significant not just to Western Australia but also the nation for its enormous heritage value and as one of the country's most important places of worship," Senator Campbell said.

"The Commonwealth has a vital role to play in helping conserve our precious built heritage and funding for projects such as these is just one way in which we are fulfilling our responsibilities."

St Mary's Cathedral contains some outstanding artistic features, including an enormous window of the crucifixion with a copy of Leonardo da Vinci's fresco of the Last Supper in its lowest panel, a reproduction of Murillo's The Immaculate Conception, painted by a nun in Rome and presented to the Cathedral by Pope Pius XI and a mosaic chapel floor made in Venice.

Editor's Note:

Senators Campbell and Ellison will be given a tour of the Cathedral by Monsignor Thomas McDonald and Archbishop Barry Hickey, 9am today, Friday, May 13. Media are welcome to attend for photographs/vision. Meet at the Cathedral Presbytery, 17 Victoria Square, Perth.

Media Contact:
Senator Campbell's office: Renae Stoikos (02) 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434

Commonwealth of Australia