The information on this page is taken from the brochure produced by Bishop Patrick Dwyer in 1930 to celebrate the opening of the ‘New Church of the Sacred Heart’ (now Sacred Heart Cathedral), and was reissued in 2005 to commemorate the building’s 75th anniversary. Copies are still available in the Cathedral.
The first meeting in connection with the new Church was held in October, 1925 and about 150 attended. Father Peters presided and outlined the project dwelling on the need for a new Church and ways and means of raising funds to build it. They had about 500 pounds in hand and about 2,000 pounds more had promised. He could not say what the proposed Church would cost, but it would have to be a large one, and, he hoped, a beautiful one, and he suggested that they set about raising 10,000 pounds before starting the building. The suggestions were well received, and it was resolved to build. An executive committee was appointed with Messrs. H. Gallagher, V. Bernasconi and J.J. Doughan as secretaries. Donations soon began to come in, and by the end of 1926 4,000 pounds was in hand. Father Peters attended the great Chicago Eucharistic Congress in 1926 and after his return, easrly in 1927, he introduced the American envelope system to assist the work. It was taken up enthusiastically with the result that the funds had increased to 8,000 pounds by the end of 1927. 1928 will be remembered as the year of the great Australian Eucharistic Congress, and everyone was anxious that a beginning should be made with the Church during this year of grace.
This proved a great incentive, and with a second issue of envelopes the 10,000 pound objective was reached by September, and the 23rd of that month was fixed for the laying of the foundation stone (which was kindly donated by Mr. J.J. Edstein). Dr. Dwyer, Bishop of Maitland, performed the ceremony. Archbishop Hanna, of San Francisco, preached, and Bishop Killian and Bishop J.W. Dywer and many priests and laity took part in the ceremony. The collection amounted to nearly 1,700 pounds. Monsignor J. O’Gorman preached at the devotions at night. The preparing of plans, etc., was then entrusted by the committee to Mr. P.J. Gannon. Fifteen tenders were received, ranging from 24,500 pounds to 40,000 pounds. After due consideration and with the approval of the Bishop and architect, the lowest tender was accepted, and Messrs. Elliott and Beck were entrusted with the work. Building operations began in January, 1929, under Mr. Gannon’s direction with Mr. H. Allen as clerk of works. Satisfactory weather was experienced right through, and thanks to the daily prayers in the schools and by the congregation, no accident of any moment occurred. The first bricks were laid by Fathers Peters and Forde on Friday, February 1st, 1929, and the last of the tower on Friday, February 7th, 1930. About 700,000 bricks have been used in the work, all being produced at Thornton. Building materials were got locally as far as possible, and most are of Australian manufacture.
As all the money raised had been invested for fixed periods, a loan was necessary to carry on, and 20,000 pounds was arranged for with the banks.