Townsville, QLD - Sacred Heart Catholic Cathedral

Year Built: 1902

Denomination: Roman Catholic

Address: 270 Stanley Street, Townsville, Queensland, 4810

Architect: Unknown

Traditional Owners: Bindal, Wulgurukaba people

Last Updated: 16/04/2024

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History and Architecture:

In January 1892, the Church of St Joseph on the Strand collapsed into a small creek, which had become a raging torrent after a downpour, described as "practically a waterspout", struck Townsville. It was after this, and a series of other calamities, that the decision was made to build the main church in Townsville on the foundation of rock on Castle Hill.

The Church of the Sacred Heart at Townsville was erected in at least two stages between 1896 and 1902, to plans prepared by Melbourne architects Reed, Smart & Tappin in 1894. Queensland architects Eaton, Bates and Polin of Brisbane, Townsville and Rockhampton supervised the work, and the contractor for the superstructure was Denis Kelleher.

Excavation of the Stanley Street site, foundations and basement were carried out in 1896, at a cost of £1,160 for the basements alone. No further progress was made until 7 October 1900, when the Right Rev. Dr Joseph Higgins, Bishop of Rockhampton, laid the foundation stone. However, not until early 1902 did work commence on the first stage of the superstructure – nave and aisles.

A Foundation stone reads, " This stone was laid by Right Rev D Higgins October 1900". A plaque reads, " This Cathedral was dedicated by The Most Rev Michael E. Putney on 23 June 2006 being the Solomnity of the Sacred Heart. Architect John T Ahern Builder BM Walsh Group Administration Gavin Humpheys CM". 


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
1900 - Father Walsh
1912 - Monsignor Bourke
1952 - Father K. Clancy
2022 - Father Rod Ward


The original organ, built by Brindley & Foster of Sheffield England, was a gift to the Diocese of North Queensland from Miss M.E. Holland, an English friend of Bishop George Henry Stanton, the first Bishop of North Queensland. It was originally installed in St James’ Church in 1884. In 1892, it was moved to the present Cathedral where it was originally installed in the north choir ambulatory and the two arches fronting the chancel.


1. Wikipedia
2. Church website