St. Joseph's Cathedral, Dunedin
History and museums
St Joseph's Cathedral in Dunedin, New Zealand, is the Roman Catholic Cathedral for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dunedin. It is located in City Rise, some 0.5 kilometres (0.31 mi) to the west of the city centre.
The Gothic revival cathedral was designed by Francis Petre, who also later, in a complete change of style to palladian revival, designed St Patrick's Basilica, Oamaru (1894), Sacred Heart Cathedral, Wellington (1901), the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, Christchurch (1905), St. Mary's Basilica, Invercargill (1905), St Patrick's Basilica, Waimate (1909) and Sacred Heart Basilica, Timaru (1911). Construction of the Cathedral started in 1878, during the episcopacy of Bishop Patrick Moran. It was used for its first church service in February 1886, and was completed in its unfinished state in May 1886, at a cost of £22,500. The original design, however, was for a much larger building, with a tall spire with a height of 60 meters over the transept.
St Joseph's Cathedral is located beside St Dominic's Priory, also designed by Petre, in 1876. The Priory is no longer used, except for one room utilised by the Cathedral choir. The Cathedral Chapel is situated behind the Priory, and the Traditional Latin Mass is still celebrated there every Sunday. Behind the Cathedral is the Catholic Pastoral Centre, containing the Bishop's office and also the Catholic library.
The cathedral has undergone several modifications, the most notable being the removal of the High Altar after Vatican II; it was returned after a long sojourn in the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. The side altar was dismantled in early 1970, and has since been made into a large Tabernacle, kept in the Blessed Sacrament chapel beside the sanctuary. A new Reconciliation Room has been added to replace the old confessionals in the nave of the cathedral.
A description of St Joseph's Cathedral from a letter of the reporter of the Auckland Evening Star in 1889 says, "The cable tram has carried you up barely two hundred feet when you see a double-towered church of dark grey stone standing on a site cut into the hill. This is the Catholic Cathedral, St Joseph — and it is a gem. The outside gives you no idea of the beauty within."
This is a poor description of what was built. While it falls short of the original conception the building as it stands gives a better idea of the outstanding structure which was never completed.