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St Patrick's Cathedral, Bunbury

Completed 2011

The original St Patrick's Cathedral, designed by Richard Dennehy and constructed in 1921, was hit by a tornado in 2005 which shifted it sideways and resulted in it being structurally condemned. Community consultation drove the decision that the new Cathedral must have a similar form and silhouette to the original Cathedral. Conversely the interior, three times larger in area, needed to be contemporary in layout to satisfy modern liturgy. These goals created a design conflict, the resolution of which was the major design consideration.


The new St Patrick’s Cathedral is designed to create an inward looking contemplative atmosphere, disassociated from the outside environment. To help achieve this a long processional narthex with a relatively low ceiling leads into the very large volume of the nave and sanctuary. The interior of the Cathedral utilises a minimal palette of finishes, which have been offset by the large, brightly coloured, digitally printed perimeter windows showing bible stories set in Western Australian landscapes, painted by Robert Juniper. The campus contains more buildings, new and existing, than the cathedral and these have been linked with a new internal cloister, which forms a part of the long processional narthex.  


The built form of the cathedral and its campus replaces and extends the 90 year role of the demolished original. Extensive use was made of salvaged components including bronze doors, lead light windows, foundation stones, pews and other furniture and religious artifacts. The interior design is different in both scale and form to the original but provides a continuity as a Bunbury institution and has been praised by visitors and parishioners, used to the old Cathedral.

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