The former Dean of Newcastle was the Very Reverend James Rigney (formerly chaplain of Magdalene College, Cambridge). His installation took place on the Feast of the Annunciation, 25 March 2009. The current dean, Fr Stephen Williams (formerly rector of the Parish of Merewether), was installed on 23 June 2013.
The present cathedral replaced an earlier Christ Church, built in 1817. When the Diocese of Newcastle was created in 1847, the original Christ Church became a cathedral and William Tyrell was appointed first Bishop of Newcastle (1848–79). Due to the poor condition of the original building and the growing population of the city, it was decided to build a new cathedral and a design competition was held in 1868. It was won by architects Terry and Speechley from Melbourne, but they had seriously underestimated the cost of their design and accordingly the plans of John Horbury Hunt were adopted instead. His design was for a cruciform Victorian Gothic style building with a central tower and spire over the central crossing. Work started in 1883 and the older building was demolished the following year. A temporary building was constructed nearby for services until the new cathedral could be completed and consecrated in 1902. The tower was not added until 1979, minus the planned spire. The building was damaged during an earthquake in 1989 and since been repaired.