Roman Catholic Diocese of Wollongong

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Diocese of Wollongong
Dioecesis Vollongongensis
Country Australia
Territory Illawarra and Southern Highlands regions of New South Wales
Metropolitan Archdiocese of Sydney
Coordinates 34°25′22″S 150°53′32″E / 34.42278°S 150.89222°E / -34.42278; 150.89222
Area 6,121 km2 (2,363 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2004)
Increase 647,912
Increase 195,669 (Steady 30.2%)
Parishes Decrease 28
Denomination Roman Catholic
Rite Latin Rite
Established 15 November 1951
Cathedral St Francis Xavier's Cathedral, Wollongong
Patron saint Immaculate Heart of Mary
Current leadership
Pope Francis
Bishop Peter Ingham
Metropolitan Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP
Emeritus Bishops William Edward Murray
Catholic Diocese of Wollongong

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Wollongong is a suffragan Latin Rite diocese of the Archdiocese of Sydney, established in 1951, covering the Illawarra and Southern Highlands regions of New South Wales, Australia.

St Francis Xavier's Cathedral, Wollongong is the seat of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Wollongong, currently the Most Reverend Peter Ingham.


On 15 November 1951, Pope Pius XII announced that a new diocese would be created from the two archdioceses of Sydney and Canberra & Goulburn. To be named Wollongong, the diocese was officially established on 11 February 1952. Bishop Thomas McCabe was transferred from Port Pirie to become its first bishop and the historic Church of St Francis Xavier in Wollongong became the cathedral. At the time of establishment, there was a Catholic population of approximately 22,000 in 18 parishes.

While the Wollongong diocese is relatively recent, the churches of Campbelltown (1835), Appin (1837), Wollongong (1838), Picton (1847), Kiama (1852), Camden (1859), Shellharbour (1861), Nowra (1863), The Oaks (1865), Albion Park (1867), Bulli (1886), Berrima (1889) and Milton-Ulladulla (1890) trace their Catholic legacy back to the early times of European settlement and to the era of Archbishop John Bede Polding, Australia's first bishop.

Initially, the diocese was composed of parishes in the Illawarra, Shoalhaven and Southern Highland regions. In 1954 it was expanded to include Camden and Campbelltown and in 1975 the parishes of Batemans Bay, Moruya and Narooma reverted to the Archdiocese of Canberra & Goulburn. The boundaries of the diocese have since remained the same. The most recently established parish is Rosemeadow (1994), which incorporates the church in Appin, the oldest continuously used Catholic church on the Australian mainland.

In 1959 Pope John XXIII dedicated the diocese to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Bishops of Wollongong[edit]

The following individuals have been elected as Bishop of Wollongong:[1]

Order Name Date enthroned Reign ended Term of office Reason for term end
1 Thomas Absolem McCabe 15 November 1951 10 May 1974 22 years, 176 days Resigned and appointed Bishop Emeritus of Wollongong
2 William Edward Murray 5 June 1975 12 April 1996 20 years, 312 days Retired and appointed Bishop Emeritus of Wollongong
3 Philip Wilson 12 April 1996 30 November 2000 4 years, 232 days Elevated to Archbishop of Adelaide
4 Peter Ingham 6 June 2001 present 16 years, 86 days n/a



The diocese is divided into ten deaneries that administer individual parishes, dedicated to particular saints:[2]

  1. Illawarra deanery with regular liturgical services held in the parishes of Albion Park (St Paul), Fairy Meadow (St John Vianney Co-Cathedral), Gwynneville (St Brigid), Unanderra (Immaculate Conception), Warrawong (St Francis of Assisi), West Wollongong (St Therese), and Wollongong (St Francis Xavier)
  2. Macarthur deanery with regular liturgical services held in the parishes of Camden (St Paul), Campbelltown (St John the Evangelist), Eagle Vale (Mary Immaculate), Ingleburn (Holy Family), Macquarie Fields (Mary, Mother of the Church), Picton (St Anthony), Rosemeadow (Our Lady Help of Christians), Ruse (St Thomas More), The Oaks (St Aloysius Parish), and Varroville (Our Lady of Mount Carmel)
  3. South Coast deanery with regular liturgical services held in the parishes of Kangaroo Valley (St Joseph), Kiama (Ss Peter and Paul), Milton (St Mary Star of the Sea), Nowra (St Michael), and Vincentia (Holy Spirit)
  4. Southern Highlands deanery with regular liturgical services held in the parishes of Bowral (St Thomas Aquinas), Mittagong (St Michael), Moss Vale (St Paul) and Penrose Park (Shrine of Our Lady of Mercy)

Other information[edit]

The diocese is the eighth largest diocese in Australia in terms of Catholic population (out of 33 total) and the largest non-capital city diocese. The diocese now ministers to 195,000 Catholics in 31 parishes, with 15 migrant chaplaincies. There are 43 Catholic schools, various youth ministries and a range of aged care, disability and welfare services together with special faith movements in the local area.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Diocese of Wollongong". The Hierarchy of the Catholic Church. 21 May 2011. Retrieved 6 January 2007. 
  2. ^ "Parishes". Catholic Diocese of Wollongong. 2012. Retrieved 7 February 2012. 

External links[edit]