Cathedral Place built on holy ground
Brisbane’s celebrating our 150th birthday so we continue our series of posts looking at Brisbane’s history with a property focus…
The mammoth Cathedral Place apartments in Fortitude Valley have one of the more unusual boundary fences you’ll ever see. And newcomers to Brisbane might not have heard the fascinating story of the missing cathedral.
Brisbane’s Catholic Archbishop in 1928 was an entrepreneurial chap named Sir James Duhig. Sort of an early 1900’s Campbell Newman, devising huge projects and rallying everyone around him to make them happen.
Duhig wanted to build a new Cathedral to replace St Stephens in Charlotte Street and the pic below shows what he had drawn up – it would then have been the largest Christian church in the southern hemisphere. A one hectare (2.5 acre) site was chosen and a lengthy fundraising campaign began.
Work progressed as funds came in but despite completing the perimeter walls and a small crypt the project lost momentum. Rumour persisted that local funds raised were sent to the Vatican where the Pope refused to return them. In truth the project just flopped, Duhig died in 1965 and in 1985 the site was finally sold to developers.
Cathedral Place was finally completed by Devine Ltd in 1999, 514 apartments with a huge central beach and tropical pool. Not a real cathedral but probably used by more people today than it might have been had history taken a different turn.