I am not particularly religious, however I do love visiting beautiful churches and cathedrals…I appreciate the architecture and the ambiance of these sacred structures.
I have traveled the world and seen many buildings over the years, but I have discovered that we have the most amazing cathedral right here in Victoria…in Bendigo to be exact!
If you appreciate a beautiful building, the Sacred Heart Cathedral is a one you just have to see..particularly if you like the Gothic Revival style!
It is majestic, both inside and out…the Cathedral sits high on a hill, overlooking the main part of Bendigo…you drive past it when you drive into town along the Midland Highway.
And on Sundays and other important days, the bells ring out over the city….I love the sound!
It is very hard to capture the magnificence of this place in photos…the building is huge…it is 75 metres long and the main spire is 87 metres high!
But first, a bit of background…the Sacred Heart Cathedral is one of Australia’s largest churches and the second tallest after the well known St Patricks Cathedral in Melbourne!
It was able to be built in this regional area due to the estate of Henry Backhaus…who was the first Catholic priest in the Bendigo goldfields.
The building of the Cathedral started in the late 1890s, with the gorgeous pipe organ being installed in late 1905.
Then after a long break, work recommenced in 1954 and the Cathedral was finally finished in 1977!
Our visit was on a Saturday morning…just as the golden sunlight was shining in through the windows….just magical….
That ceiling is very high…27 metres to be exact!
This cathedral has a lot of natural light, which just adds to the whole atmosphere….
This is the Main Alter….
And there are five other alters in the Cathedral…including this one…
The Baptismal Font was bathed in sunlight….
The Sacred Heart Cathedral website gives the following information about the materials used…
The foundations consist of granite from Harcourt, near Bendigo. The walls are constructed of sandstone (Barrabool and Ceres from the Geelong region). Dressings and carvings are of limestone from Waurn Ponds in the original section, and from Mt Gambier in the new section. The floor is Calacatta Vagli Extra marble from Italy.
The nave has a hammer beam roof. Oregon and kauri paneling is used in the nave ceiling and most of the others, with mouldings of yellow and sugar pine and panels of King William pine. A stained glass window made by John Hardman & Co. of Birmingham occupies a large part of the western end of the building.
The only thing that would have made our visit even better, was if the organ was being played…the acoustics would be absolutely amazing…and look at that gorgeous stained glass window!
So if you are in the Bendigo area, please take the time to visit this place, even if you are not religious….it is awesome, amazing, beautiful, breathtaking….
The Sacred Heart Cathedral is located at 66 Short St, Bendigo VIC 3550.