Parish History 

The first Mass in the Goulburn District was celebrated by Father Therry in 1833 at Matt Healey’s Inn (now called “Riversdale” – a National Trust property).

Archbishop Polding visited Goulburn in 1840 and laid out the site for the first Church.  Other sites were also considered but in 1844 the construction of the Sts Peter & Paul’s Parish Church began on the current site at the corner of Bourke and Verner Streets.  The original brick church was completed in 1848.  Father Richard Walsh was Parish Priest from 1847.  Some of the old church foundations are still visible under the Cathedral floor today.  After the church was opened in 1848 by Archbishop Polding work began on the construction of the presbytery next to the Cathedral on Verner Street.

In 1864 Goulburn was created a Diocese.  Bishop Geoghegan was appointed bishop but died in Ireland before taking up his appointment.  Bishop Lanigan was then appointed as bishop.  In 1871 the construction of the present Cathedral was commenced.  Bishop Lanigan secured the services of Andrea Stombuco as the architect.  It was built in two stages.  The nave of the Cathedral was constructed first under the direct supervision of Mr. Stombuco.  The nave of the old church was demolished and taken out through the western doors of the Cathedral.  The second stage commenced in 1887 and was completed in 1890, under the direction of Mr. Charles Spadaccini, using the original design of Andrea Stombuco.  Prior to construction of the second stage the sanctuary of the old church was still in use.  It was demolished and some of the bricks were used as fill under the sanctuary floor of the Cathedral.

Further renovations were made in 1927-1928 under Bishop Barry.    The floor was replaced with a swung concrete floor and covered with wooden parquetry.  Tthe sanctuary floor was raised, the main altar and reredos were moved back to the eastern wall and the sanctuary was lined with marble.

Goulburn was raised to the status of an Archdiocese in 1948, thus making Archbishop Maguire the last Bishop of Goulburn and the first Archbishop of Canberra-Goulburn.  During the episcopate of Archbishop Eris O’Brien the Archbishop moved to Canberra and St. Christopher’s Cathedral at Manuka became the centre of the Archdiocese.  Sts. Peter and Paul’s Cathedral has been known as the Old Cathedral since that time.

Five sisters of St Joseph arrived in Goulburn in 1882 and settled in a convent built in North Goulburn, establishing St Joseph’s primary and secondary schools. The north Goulburn parish thrived and the first church was replaced by the Church of Our Lady of Fatima, which is still in use today.  Goulburn’s Catholic community remained strong over many years, with four primary schools, three secondary boarding schools, the agricultural college at Inverolochy , large Mass attendance and huge Easter gatherings at the former Mary's Mount Monastery for Stations of the Cross.

The Sisters of St John of God order came to Goulburn from WA in 1916 at Bishop John Gallagher’s invitation to establish a 13-bed hospital in a doctor’s residence, bequeathed to the church. The facility grew  and by 1950, additions and alterations took it to 70 beds, complete with a children’s ward, coronary care and intensive care units. In 1979 the hospital became a private provider of publicly funded health care and its services have expanded considerably, including oncology and palliative care.It was taken over by NSW Health in 2003.

The restructure of  Catholic secondary education and the withdrawal of the religious congregations from education and health in Goulburn  led to the establishment of Trinity Catholic College . This coincided with the amalgamation of the Goulburn and North Goulburn parishes and the formation of St Mary Queen of Apostles Parish as part of the wider Goulburn Mission, which now encompasses Bungonia, Taralga, Crookwell , Goulburn, Marulan , Tarago and Collector .