Holy Name Cathedral Site

Stage Number: MBNH.09.03.16

Group: Old Town & River

Local Study Area: Fortitude Valley-New Farm-Newstead

Epoch: Early 20th Century

Street Address: 586 & 592 Ann St, Fortitude Valley (Gipps St, Fortitude Valley)

Latitude & Longitude: -27.45961111,153.03263889

Time Link: 1928

Map Link: 1929

Image Time Point: 1929

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The Holy Name Cathedral never opened. It is a well-known saga in the history of the Brisbane diocese; a morality tale against vanity. The Catholic Archbishop of Brisbane (1917-1965), James Duhig, was the great church-builder, in the physical sense of large church buildings dotted on top of Brisbane’s rolling and steep hill, but he was utterly defeated in the plans for the jewel in the crown, the grand and towering Holy Name Cathedral. The ambitious scheme depended upon raising large amounts of funding from the faithful. The investments never got beyond the foundations. The foundation stone was laid in 1928. Below Ann-Street’s ground level, the crypt, designed as a chapel, was completed in 1935. Although there is no evidence of corruption, it can be said there was financial mismanagement. It is claimed that Duhig had signed-off on placing investments into Queensland oil prospecting, gambling on a return that was illusionary. The conditions of the 1930s economic depression and extensive local church building overtaxed the financial resources of the diocese. Rather than admit defeat, Duhig kept the faith, and, at ground level, the site remained for many decades hauntingly barren. The site was sold in 1992, and is now the Cathedral Place apartment complex.


Kowald, Margaret. with Val Donovan, Ruth Kerr, Kay Cohen, Lyndsay Smith, and Jean Stewart. Lost Brisbane and Surrounding Areas: The Later Years. Volume 2. RHSQ. 2016 page 87; Department of Enviroment & Heritage Protection, Qld Heritage Register citation No.600208

Image Citations

Map References

QSA. QSA Series 1690 Civic Survey of the City of Brisbane – AIAG2 Series. 4 chains to the inch. City of Brisbane, civic survey maps. Sheet 24, 4 chains to an inch. annotated with details of sales. 618944