Community digs deep for church
Sacred Heart, accompanied by organist Mrs Palmerston and several instrumentalists from the Towers.
In the evening, the choir would perform Cellini’s litany Rossi’s Tantum Ergo and Zingarelli’s Laudate. Admission to both services was advertised at one shilling to 10 shillings a seat.
The new church, designed by Melbourne architects Reed, Smart and Tappin, was not consecrated on the opening day because it was still officially under construction.
Three months later, on March 9, 1903, finishing touches were further delayed when Cyclone Leonta stripped the roof off the building. Townsville’s Catholics rallied again to cover the cost of repairs. A month later, the building was declared weatherproof.
In 1930, the arrival of the first Bishop of the new Catholic Diocese of Townsville, Bishop Terry McGuire, gave the church cathedral status.
In 1972, Cyclone Althea, flayed the hillside and battered the cathedral, but the roof stayed on.
By 2004, then just over a century old, the cathedral was ready for renovations.
Closed for two years, it was reopened and consecrated in June 2006 after a $ 3 million facelift, including restorations to sunbaked stained glass windows, repairs to the timber ceiling and an extension of the sanctuary.
But the spire and ornate iron roof envisaged by the Melbourne architects in 1900 is yet to be built.