University academic staff receives ARC grant funding

The Australian Research Council (ARC) has awarded $266,000 for a research project on the first Archbishop of Melbourne: A Baroque Archbishop in Colonial Australia: James Goold (1812–1886). An Irishman educated in Italy, Goold imported a library and late Italian Baroque paintings to convey the intensity of European religious experience.

The project will investigate Goold as cultural patron of Melbourne through his significant art collection, personal library and commissioning of St Patrick’s Cathedral. This is a joint three-year project of the University of Melbourne and the University of Divinity. The lead researchers are Professor Jaynie Anderson (Art Historian), Mr Shane Carmody (University of Melbourne Library) and Reverend Dr Max Vodola (Head of Catholic Theological College’s Church History Department).

It is anticipated that new publications will emerge from the research as well as conferences and an exhibition that will all examine, in various ways, the translation of European culture to colonial Australia. Reverend Dr Vodola is the first staff member of the University of Divinity to have been successful in applying for an ARC grant.

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Reintroducing Archbishop James Alipius Goold

Revd Dr Max Vodola, University of Divinity

In 1997, St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne, celebrated its centenary. The diocese had come a long way since 1847 when the Augustinian priest, James Alipius Goold (Figure 1), arrived in Melbourne and became its first Catholic Bishop (1812-86). At that time, Melbourne was a provincial town and Goold was enthroned in his cathedral church, St Francis’. In less than a decade, the city of Melbourne and the colony of Victoria were greatly transformed by the gold rush. Goold was faced with increased demands for churches and schools, priests and religious, to keep up with the growing needs of the colony. St Francis’ in Lonsdale St quickly outgrew its capacity and Goold dreamed big dreams for a splendid new cathedral on Eastern Hill to match the increased status and dignity of Melbourne as a major international metropolis.

The foundation stone for St Patrick’s Cathedral was laid in 1858 and Goold secured the services of the brilliant architect William Wardell. The pile of bluestone slowly grew in size on Eastern Hill, not without drama and controversy over design issues, labour shortages and costs blowouts. Goold died in 1886 and it was for his successor, Archbishop Thomas Joseph Carr, to officially bless and open the near-completed cathedral in 1897. Carr’s successor, Daniel Mannix, made the daring decision in post-depression Melbourne to complete the spires of the cathedral in the late 1930s. Much of the cathedral remained unchanged until the internal reordering mandated by the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). Continue reading →