Hobart, TAS St Mary's Catholic Cathedral

Year Built: 1898

Denomination: Roman Catholic

Saint: Mary

Address: 180 Harrington Street, Hobart, Tasmania, 7000

Architect: William W Wardell

Traditional Owners: Palawa people

Last Updated: 23/07/2022

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History and Architecture:

St Mary’s Cathedral was the vision of the first Bishop of Hobart Town, Robert William Willson. Bishop Willson chose the design and spent years raising the funds. Designed by William Wardell, one of Australia’s greatest nineteenth-century architects, it was completed except for its steeple between 1876 and 1898 to a modified design by Henry Hunter.  

Four foundation stones have been laid on this site: 1844, 1853, 1860 and finally that of the current building in 1876. It was completed in 1898 when the west wall was finished.

The English Norman period baptism font is one of many gifts to Bishop Willson from his close friend, architect Augustus Pugin, the father of English Gothic Revival architecture

The exquisite Hardman Studio window, newly restored, floods the building with its beauty and light.  One of the most important nineteenth century windows in Australia, it was designed by the leading English stained glass maker of the period, John Hardman and Co, Birmingham.

September 11, 1960 was an historic occasion at St. Mary's, the first direct telecast of a Mass from a Catholic Church in the State. Father B. C. Rogers sang a Missa Cantata and the Archbishop preached. Two weeks were spent in technical preparation. On December 15, an altar servers' festival, organised by Father R. Donohoe, brought 400 Hobart participants and 250 from other parts of Tasmania to a dialogue Mass at the Cathedral.

For a complete histroy visit the Cathedral website here.


This list may not contain every serving cleric, past or present, for this church.
Further submissions welcomed.

Years Name Annotation D.o.B D.o.D
1988 - 1999 Dr Eric D'Arcy 2005
1998 - Archbishop Adrian L. Doyle
2020 - Father Julian Porteous 1949


The pipe organ was built in 1893 by Fincham & Hobday. It was first erected in the Hobart Exhibition Building in December 1893 and was widely used for concerts before being installed in its present position in St Mary’s Cathedral in June 1895.

In 1934, the organ was rebuilt by Hill, Norman & Beard (Australia) Pty Ltd, in 1957 by Keith Davis, Launceston, Tasmania and in 1966 by George Fincham & Sons Pty Ltd.


1. Cathedral website
2. Churches of Colonial Hobart, a field guide to Hobart's history in 24 buildings.
3. Pricesless Heritage W.T. Southerwood