Fremantle Stuff > churches > St Patrick's. See also: David Hutchison's Walk 7, St Patrick's Basilica precinct, in his Fremantle Walks.

St Patrick's Basilica

Adelaide St, 1900

Hitchcock: The first Roman Catholic place of worship in Fremantle was opened [in 1846]. The denomination purchased a house situated on lot 67 in Henry Street, and that was converted into a little convent and a room set apart for a chapel. The chapel was served on Sundays by a priest from Perth. There was no resident priest in Fremantle until 1855, when the first Sisters of St. Joseph - four in number - arrived with several missionaries. Soon afterwards the building of a presbytery, chapel and convent was commenced in Adelaide Street and Parry Street. Lay brothers trained in carpentry did much of the work, which was finished in 1859. Since then the convent has been enlarged by the addition of another storey and schools have been built. Recently the old presbytery was demolished and a more ornate structure erected on its site. The old chapel still stands, but has been superseded by a new and imposing edifice built in front of it. Hitchcock 1929: 32. [The convent and old chapel to which Hitchcock refers have both been demolished.]

Wikipedia: The word 'basilica' has two meanings. The earlier one referred to a particular type of building. The relevant meaning here refers to the importance of the church, and its parish. There are four major basilicas, all in Rome, and over 1600 minor basilicas elsewhere, of which this is one. It means that this parish is obliged to fulfil certain liturgical obligations, and: 'It should be sufficiently large and with an ample sanctuary. It should be renowned for history, relics or sacred images, and should be served by a sufficient number of priests and other ministers and by an adequate choir.' Wikipedia


St Patrick's with the current Presbytery on the left.

st pats

St Joseph's College Convent also used to be in Adelaide Street. It is now marked only by this plaque in the footpath:

This 1961 photo shows St Joseph's in the background. (Thanks to Peter Vinci.)

An earlier photo showing the building unfinished. The Moreton Bay fig tree on the left - the Proclamation Tree - was planted in 1890.

References and Links

Geraldine Byrne 2000, A Basilica in the Making: the Centenary of St Patrick's Fremantle, Mazenod Press.

J.K. Hitchcock 1929, The History of Fremantle, The Front Gate of Australia 1829-1929, Fremantle City Council.

Hutchison, David, Walk 7, St Patrick's Basilica precinct, Fremantle Walks.

Wikipedia entry

Garry Gillard | New: 25 September, 2014 | Now: 20 January, 2021