New museum tells the story of Catholics in Western Australia

The opening of the museum at St Mary’s Cathedral, Perth (The eRecord/Ron Tan)

The story of Western Australia’s Catholic community from its foundation in 1843 to the present day has been captured in a new museum and learning program at St Mary's Cathedral in Perth. Source: The eRecord.

St Mary’s Cathedral dean Fr Sean Fernandez last week hosted the launch of the museum and the learning and development program. The launch marked the completion of three years’ work by the project committee, including cathedral supervisor Tony Meyrick, archdiocesan archivist Odhran O’Brien, with contributions from Heritage Perth, Creative Spaces and Catholic Education Western Australia.

The permanent exhibitions in the Cathedral’s museum are: "An Ancient Land", "A New Faith Arrives", "Let’s Build a Cathedral", "Settlers, Convicts and Migrants", "Schools and Learning", "Our Community" and "Celebrating and Remembering".

The staff of Creative Spaces and the Archdiocesan Archives curated a display in the temporary display area of the museum entitled Curiosities from the Archives, which includes artefacts from Archdiocese’s museum collection.

“What we want to focus on (with the temporary displays) is those less known Catholics,” Mr O’Brien said.

He said the aim of the exhibition is: “Telling people the story of Catholics in WA in a format that can be easily digested and understood – [previously] the permanent displays didn’t really tell a narrative and similarly, artefacts being stored at the archives office weren’t really helping to tell that story.”

There is a rich story associated with each item on display and many of the items speak of the personal faith and commitment of individuals who have been part of the cathedral parish or the archdiocese.

The learning and development program provides a range of activities for Catholic primary school students to help them engage with the history of the cathedral and the Archdiocese of Perth.

The activities have been designed to prepare students for their visit to the cathedral, to help them engage with their tour while at St Mary’s and finally to explore what they have learnt in greater detail on their return to school.


The Story of St Mary’s is now more accessible than ever before (The eRecord

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