St Francis Xavier Cathedral and Cathedral Precinct, Geraldton

The St Francis Xavier Cathedral Precinct Project was a major, multi-faceted restoration and development project of Geraldton’s iconic Catholic Cathedral as it reached its 100 year milestone. As well as creating a setting for the Cathedral, its intent was to provide parishioners and the local community with a place for their spiritual focus and also enhance the tourism offering in the City of Greater Geraldton and in the regions beyond. The creation of the new Museum and interpretive centre designed by John Taylor Architects required a close working relationship with the architect, delivering utility civic spaces that also accommodate alfresco seating to a café and community spaces. The acclaimed restoration of the Cathedral is complemented by the creation of simple, elegant spaces that present vistas and functional activity places. This destination is used by the community informally but is able to welcome major events and gatherings as well as tourist groups and managed visitation. Spaces provide places of repose and contemplation, civic gathering and importantly functions related to the needs of the religious community including the lower Garden of Midwest flora that incorporate a columbarium.

The design of the precinct gives full prominence to the heritage building, recreating some of the original intent, resulting in potentially contentious changes such as the removal of a number of mature trees to the east of the site. The plans for the precinct incorporated key heritage narratives reflecting the original objectives of Monsignor John Hawes. Reference back to his early sketches provided a foundation but this was tempered by a patina of changes to the site made over the years, plus the need to respond to contemporary needs.

  • Heritage Research
  • Iterative design process with architects and client
  • Sketch schemes and option review process
  • Full detailed design, documentation and contract administration