Victoria Square was originally known as Church Hill, and was intended for the Colony’s Anglican Church. The congregation, however, complained so much about the distance they had to travel to attend church, the land was eventually turned over to the Roman Catholic Church.
The Anglicans built their church, St George’s Cathedral , in the centre of the city and the Roman Catholics built, St Mary’s Cathedral in the centre of Victoria Square.
Victoria Square was named in honour of Queen Victoria. Queen Victoria ascended the throne in June 1837, following the death of her uncle, King William IV.
St Mary’s Cathedral
St Mary’s Cathedral is located in one of the highest points in the city. On February the 8th, 1863 the foundation stone was laid by Bishop Salvado of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (St Mary’s Cathedral). The Gothic style Cathedral was designed by architect and master mason Brother Joseph Ascione and built by Benedictine monks. Click here for more information about St Mary’s Cathedral….
Sister’s of Mercy Convent
The Convent of Mercy (Mother House) is located on the corner of Victoria Square and Goderich Street. The building was completed in 1873. Interestingly it was designed by McMahon who was an Irish political prisoner . The two storey building features chequered brickwork and three steep gables. The verandahs are decorated with cast iron lace.
Mercedes School House
The Victorian Romanesque and Tudor style school house was built in 1871 of limestone. It features brick quoins (corner stones). The octagonal tower which is situated at the rear of the building originally had a steeply pitched roof. Today the school house is part of Mercedes College a private girl’s school.
The first Bishop’s Palace was completed in 1859 and was a simple plain three storey building. In the 1920’s architect M.C. Cavanagh designed extensions to the east end and recast the whole building in a classical manner. In the 1930’s following the same style the church office was added.
Catholic Migrant Centre
The Catholic Migrant Centre (CMC,) which was originally known as the Episcopal Migrant and Welfare Association (EMWA), was established in 1947. The association was founded to aid the post war child immigration program and on a lesser scale assist adult immigration, handling State subsidies for children in institutions and providing general welfare services for new arrivals.