Roman Catholic Diocese of Sandhurst

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Diocese of Sandhurst

Dioecesis Sandhurstensis
Sacred heart cathedral bendigo.jpg
Sacred Heart Cathedral, Bendigo
Ecclesiastical provinceMelbourne
MetropolitanArchdiocese of Melbourne
Coordinates36°45′17″S 144°17′07″E / 36.75472°S 144.28528°E / -36.75472; 144.28528
Area45,178 km2 (17,443 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2004)
Increase 341,850
Increase 91,400 (Steady 26.7%)
ParishesSteady 41
DenominationRoman Catholic
RiteLatin Rite
Established30 March 1874
CathedralSacred Heart Cathedral, Bendigo
Current leadership
BishopLes Tomlinson
Metropolitan ArchbishopPeter Comensoli
Catholic Diocese of Sandhurst

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Sandhurst is a suffragan Latin Rite diocese of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, erected in 1874, covering the central and north-east regions of Victoria, Australia, including Bendigo.

Sacred Heart Cathedral, Bendigo is the seat of the Bishop of Sandhurst. On 3 February 2012, the Vatican announced the appointment of Les Tomlinson as the seventh Bishop of Sandhurst. He was installed in a liturgical ceremony on 1 March 2012.[1]


The Diocese of Sandhurst was established on 30 March 1874, from the Diocese of Melbourne. When the Diocese of Melbourne was made an archdiocese the Diocese of Sandhurst became one of its suffragans. Both dioceses are within the Ecclesiastical Province of Melbourne.[2]

By 1911, the diocese had Augustinian Fathers, Marist Brothers, Sisters of Mercy, Sisters of St. Brigid, Sisters of St. Joseph, Presentation Sisters, Faithful Companions of Jesus and Good Shepherd Sisters.[3]

Construction of the Sacred Heart Cathedral began in 1885 under Bishop Crane. Its organ was installed in 1905, under Stephen Reville. The cathedral was completed in 1977 under Bernard Stewart. Sacred Heart Cathedral is one of the largest Neo-Gothic or Gothic Revival cathedrals in Australia and its construction was largely made possible by the estate of the Paderborn-born German pioneer priest Henry Backhaus, the first Roman Catholic priest on the goldfields of Bendigo.


The following individuals have been appointed as Roman Catholic Bishops of Sandhurst:[4]

Order Name Date enthroned Reign ended Term of office Reason for term end
1 Martin Crane, OSA 4 August 1874 21 October 1901 27 years, 78 days Died in office
2 Stephen Reville, OSA † 21 October 1901 18 September 1916 14 years, 333 days Died in office
3 John McCarthy 14 February 1917 18 August 1950 33 years, 185 days Died in office
4 Bernard Denis Stewart 18 August 1950 21 April 1979 28 years, 246 days Retired and appointed Bishop Emeritus of Sandhurst
5 Noel Desmond Daly 21 April 1979 1 July 2000 21 years, 71 days Resigned and appointed Bishop Emeritus of Sandhurst
6 Joseph Grech 8 March 2001 28 December 2010 9 years, 295 days Died in office
7 Les Tomlinson 1 March 2012 present

Following the death in office of Joseph Grech, Monsignor Frank Marriott, the administrator of Sacred Heart Cathedral, was appointed to serve as administrator of the diocese. On 3 February 2012, Monsignor Marriott announced that Pope Benedict XVI had appointed Les Tomlinson as the next bishop. Tomlinson's installation took place on 1 March 2012.[1]

Other information[edit]

The diocese comprises the area north of the Great Dividing Range, south of the Murray River and east of the Loddon River, an area of 45,178 km2 (17,450 sq mls). The diocese is divided into 41 parishes and has 74 priests, 109 religious sisters and 5 brothers. The diocese had a Catholic population of about 86,000 in 2006.

There are 50 Catholic schools in the diocese – 40 primary, nine secondary and one P–10 school – catering for 7,700 primary and 5,850 secondary students. Bendigo's oldest Catholic church is St Kilian's.[5]

Saint Augustine's Church, Myers Flat is the oldest Roman Catholic church building in the Diocese of Sandhurst. This church was built by John O'Brien and consecrated by Monsignor Hayes in 1864.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "New Bishop of Sandhurst" (Press release). Diocese of Sandhurst. 3 February 2012. Retrieved 3 February 2012.
  2. ^ C.S. Geoghegan, From mass tent to cathedral: Catholicism in the social and cultural landscape, Sandhurst 1852-1901, Journal of the Australian Catholic Historical Society 27 (2006), 41-48.
  3. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Sandhurst" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  4. ^ "Diocese of Sandhurst". The Hierarchy of the Catholic Church. 19 February 2011. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  5. ^ "Vatican offer to Anglicans". The Age. Australia. 28 November 2009.

Further reading[edit]

  • Ebsworth, Walter (1973). Pioneer Catholic Victoria. Polding Press. ISBN 0-85884-096-0.
  • O'Farrell, Patrick (1977). The Catholic Church and Community in Australia. West Melbourne: Thomas Nelson.
  • The Official Directory of the Catholic Church in Australia 2005/2006. Maryborough, Victoria: published with the authority of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, by the National Council of Priests of Australia. 1977. ISSN 1321-4764.
  • Arneil, Stan (1992). Out Where the Dead Men Lie (The Augustinians in Australia 1838-1992). Brookvale, Sydney: Augustinian Press. ISBN 0-949826-03-0.

External links[edit]