The Cathedral Restoration Project to expand

With the restoration of the Cathedral of St Michael and St John in its final year, the Restoration Management Committee has recommended an extension of the project’s original scope to ensure that this historic building stands as an impressive landmark in the Bathurst community for future generations. 

“The initial focus of the project was to renew the life of Edward Gell’s 159-year-old Cathedral by rebuilding its foundations and restoring damaged stone and brickwork. This has already contributed to preserving and enhancing an important part of Bathurst’s heritage; as well as providing jobs and training for many and contributing to the local economy,” said Bishop of Bathurst, Michael McKenna. 

“The final expansion of the project will extend these benefits, as we take the once in a generation opportunity to make the oldest Catholic Cathedral in NSW and its grounds more beautiful and more functional for our parishioners and for Bathurst residents and visitors,” he said. 

The extended scope will now see the project include extensive upgrades to the Cathedral landscape, repainting of the interior of the Cathedral and replacement of the lighting and sound system. The cost of the restoration project will increase by $1.7 million to $8.2 million in total. 

Locally owned and operated building company, Tablelands Builders Pty Ltd has been awarded the tender to complete the ground and landscaping works component of the project.

Rob Barlow, Managing Director of Tablelands Builders said it is an exciting project to be involved in. “We are looking forward to leading the redevelopment of the Cathedral grounds. The historical significance of the site and the importance the Cathedral plays in the landscape of Bathurst and the region presents a fantastic opportunity to create an environment that is functional, aesthetically pleasing and adds to people’s experience when visiting the Cathedral.”

Mr Barlow explained that significant changes to the landscape of the Cathedral grounds will include a new traffic entry constructed from William Street, with the current Keppel Street entry being removed, to allow the creation of green space and paved areas. 

“The new design will increase the safety of the traffic flow through the precinct, without reducing the overall number of car parking spaces. Traffic islands will be installed in William and Keppel Streets, to ensure the smooth flow of traffic entering and exiting the car park,” said Mr Barlow. 

“The works will involve removing the brick walls and barriers erected over the years, visually making the Cathedral grounds an extension of Machattie Park, whilst removing the concrete surrounding the building that has adversely impacted the Cathedral, preventing the original masonry from breathing and the building from being properly ventilated,” he said. 

“The ground level around the Cathedral will be reduced back to its original levels. A new entrance to the building will also be constructed through the area currently occupied by the Cathedral Gift Shop, with level access from the car park, to ensure easy access for those with limited mobility.” 

All internal areas of the Cathedral will be repainted to ensure the interior is maintained and in line with the historical significance of the heritage listed building. 

The timing of this stage of the project will be dependent on a number of factors but it is anticipated it will be completed by the end of 2020.

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