|St Francis Xaviers Cathedral|
"A Poem in Stone"
The St Francis Xavier Cathedral was designed by Monsignor Hawes (Priest and Architect), who arrived in Geraldton as a parish priest in 1915 - the building is generally regarded as one of his finest works.
The work of building the Cathedral began on June 20th, 1916; the laying of the western portion was then started. The cornerstone forms a historical link with the first catholic church built in Geraldton - old St. Francis Xavier's down by the the coast built in 1870 by Father LeCaille which was later pulled down to make room for railway extensions.
The section completed in this first stage was the Twin Towers and the Nave. The towers were later crowned with their domed roofs but little more was done until 1926 when the crypt was extended eastwards and the sanctuary finished above it. The completed building was opened on August 28th, 1938. The interior features Romanesque columns, huge arches beneath an octagonal dome and zebra striping of the walls. Needless to say that the architecture is a blend of styles.
In as far as the design it may be said it follows the round arched classical style of ancient Rome. The twin towers of the west from are very much like the Californian Mission Church in Santa Barbara and the large central dome over the crossing has a fleeting resemblance to Brunellesci's famous Cupola in Florence.
The first thing that strikes most people about the interior of the building is its colouring - arranged in stripes of grey with orange markings. It resembles the fashion of "many churches and cathedrals of Italy, such as Sienna and Orvieto. Visitors who have visited the Great Mosque at El Cordoba, Spain also remark on the similarity of interior design, albeit on a much smaller scale, and the colour scheme.