James Alipius Goold

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The Most Reverend

James Goold

1st Archbishop of Melbourne
James Gooldsmall.jpg
James Goold as Archbishop of Melbourne
ChurchRoman Catholic Church
In office1874–1887
Predecessornew title
SuccessorThomas Carr
Ordination19 July 1835 (Priest)
Consecration6 August 1848 (Bishop) in
St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney
by John Bede Polding
Personal details
James Alypius Goold

4 November 1812
County Cork, Ireland
Died11 June 1886(1886-06-11) (aged 73)
Brighton, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
BuriedSt Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne
DenominationRoman Catholic Church
Previous post(s)Bishop of Melbourne
Styles of
James Alypius Goold
Mitre plain 2.png
Reference styleThe Most Reverend
Spoken styleYour Grace
Religious styleArchbishop

James Alipius Goold (4 November 1812 – 11 June 1886) was an Australian Augustinian friar and the founding Roman Catholic Bishop and Archbishop of Melbourne in Australia.


Early years[edit]

Goold was born in Cork, Ireland. Upon leaving school he entered the order of St. Augustine and was sent to Perugia, Italy to study. (From 1695 until the 19th Century, Irish students for the Catholic priesthood were often sent to the Continent to study due to the then existing penal laws in Britain and Ireland.)[1]


Goold was ordained in Perugia on 9 July 1835 at the age of twenty-three. In 1837 he was appointed to the student house of the Irish Augustinians in Rome, but in Easter 1837 he had a chance meeting on the steps of the Augustinian church of Santa Maria del Popolo with Benedictine William Bernard Ullathorne, Vicar General of New Holland (Australia).[2] Ullathorne was in Rome recruiting priests for Australia, and Goold was convinced by Ullathorne to commit himself to seven years of missionary work in Australia, subject to his order's approval.[1]

In 1838, Father Goold arrived in Australia aboard the Upton Castle. Also on board were Governor and Lady Gipps. Goold worked initially with Archbishop John Bede Polding in Sydney, becoming parish priest at Campbelltown, New South Wales, where in 1841, he built, St John's Church in 1841. He spent a considerable amount of his time traveling through the country on horseback.[1]

Bishop and Archbishop[edit]

Pope Pius IX appointed him Bishop of Melbourne, and he was consecrated bishop by John Bede Polding on 6 August 1848,[3] (the feast of the Transfiguration) in old St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney. He transferred to Melbourne, traveling overland in 19 days, being installed on 8 October 1848 in his first Cathedral, St Francis Church[4] in Lonsdale Street. Goold was only the second Roman Catholic bishop in Australia. He arrived in his new town to find only two Catholic church buildings, four priests in the diocese, no religious sisters or brothers, and a population around 11,000.[5] After negotiations begun in 1848, five acres of land on Eastern Hill were finally granted by the crown on 1 April 1851 and shortly afterwards became the site of St Patrick's cathedral and the bishop's palace. The discovery of gold in this year enormously increased the population of Melbourne, and it was realized that the church of St Patrick that had been begun would be inadequate. It was decided to build a great cathedral – St Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne. In 1858 William Wardell, then government architect, was asked to draw up the plans, and the first stone of the new building was laid in December 1858. For the remainder of Goold's life he was much occupied with the raising of funds for the cathedral.[1] Within thirteen years of arriving in Melbourne, the capable and determined Goold had increased the number of church buildings in Melbourne to 64.

As an Irishman of his times and immediate history, Goold had experienced the consequences of sectarianism, and in Australia disputed the title of "Bishop of Melbourne" with the then Anglican bishop of Melbourne, Dr Charles Perry. Under Australian law (unlike British law at the time) Goold was found to have equal right to the title.[1][6]

Goold was an expansionist. He attempted to persuade his home Irish province of the Augustinians to establish a seminary and novitiate in Melbourne. Though the Irish province agreed to Goold's requests in principle, the plan did not come to fruition in his lifetime. The first Australian Augustinian was not ordained until 1940, and the Australian Province was not formally established as separate from its Irish founding province until 1952.

The Irish province was already sending missionaries to the US, India and England, and did not then consider an Australian foundation viable. Nevertheless, Goold commenced the building of Melbourne's St Patrick's Cathedral on 8 December 1858. In order to expand Catholic education, in 1857 Bishop Goold succeeded in bringing the Mercy Sisters from Perth into the diocese. He also introduced the Irish Christian Brothers to Melbourne in 1867. Other congregations he brought to the diocese include the Jesuits, and the Faithful Companions of Jesus.[3] Goold engaged enthusiastically in Australian public debate over the issue of State Aid for Catholic education, and was politically pro-active in opposing what he referred to as the 'godless compulsory education' of state schools.[1]

From late 1869 to 1870 Goold attended the First Vatican Council in Rome, where he also met with three other Augustinian and Irish bishops. On 10 May 1874, while still in Rome, Goold was made Archbishop of Melbourne. Towards the end of his life his health began to suffer but it was difficult to persuade him to relax from his duties.

Archbishop Goold died at Melbourne on 11 June 1886 and was buried in St Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Grigsby, J. R. J. (1972). "Goold, James Alipius (1812–1886)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Vol. 4. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
  2. ^ Arneil. Out Where the Dead Men Lie. p. 34.
  3. ^ a b Phelan, Patrick. "Melbourne." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 10. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 29 May 2021 Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  4. ^ "Early history", St Francis’ Church, Melbourne
  5. ^ Arneil. Out Where the Dead Men Lie. p. 37.
  6. ^ Under British law at the time, no Roman Catholic Bishop was permitted to be named bishop of a diocese with the same name as an Anglican diocese (e.g. the Catholic bishop of Westminster was effectively the Catholic Bishop of London, but not permitted to be called so).


  • Arneil, Stan (1992). "Out Where the Dead Men Lie". The Augustinians in Australia 1838–1992. Brookvale: Augustinian Press. ISBN 0-949826-03-0.
  • Hogan, J. F. (1886). A Biographical Sketch of the Late Most Rev. James Alipius Goold. Melbourne, Australia: Alex McKinley & Co. p. 22.
  • Martin O.S.A, Rev. F. X. (1986). A Great Battle Bishop James A. Goold of Melbourne (1848–64) and the State Aid for Religion Controversy. Ireland and Irish- Australia: studies in cultural and political history. London: Croom Helm.
  • O'Farrell, Patrick (1977). The Catholic Church and community in Australia. West Melbourne, Victoria: Thomas Nelson (Australia). p. 463. ISBN 0-17-005129-3.
  • Serle, Percival (1949). "Goold, James Alipius". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Sydney: Angus and Robertson.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
new title
1st Bishop of the
Catholic Diocese of Melbourne

1848 – 1874
Succeeded by
title abolished
Preceded by
new title
1st Archbishop of the
Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne

1874 – 1886
Succeeded by