History of St Michael's Anglican Cathedral

We acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land, the Wodi Wodi people of the Dharawal nation.  On this land they continued their cultural, spiritual and educational practices, and we pay our respect to them as we seek to do the same in our community and for our children. As we gather on these ancestral lands, we also acknowledge our God & Heavenly Father who made the heavens and the earth, and to whom we are responsible for the current stewardship of this land that has been entrusted to us.

A History of the Building and Surrounds

Wollongong Cathedral

1826 Church of England came to the Illawarra with the establishment of a military detachment. Captain Bishop of the 40th Regiment and Charles Throsby Smith were authorised to conduct religious services
1828 Smith’s barn was used as a church—not only for Anglicans but for all denominations. Father Therry celebrated mass and Rev. Redhall took divine services for Anglicans
1834 The town of Wollongong was surveyed by Major Mitchell. Charles Throsby Smith had received a 300 acre land grant from Governor Lachlan Macquarie in 1820. He gave a 2-acre block on one of the highest rises of his property to the Church of England—including a condition that the church block be approached by a street on each of its four sides. This caused Major Mitchell a good deal of mental anxiety! A plaque in the Northern Porch reads “To the glory of God and in memory of Charles Throsby Smith who gave the land on which these buildings stand.”
1847 First St Michael’s built in Corrimal Street. This church building was demolished in 1859.
1858 Bishop Barker laid the foundation stone for the new church building on its present site
1859 Bishop Barker consecrated the church building in the name of St Michael the Archangel. Psalm 24 was read as being appropriate for the ‘Church on the Hill’:

A Psalm of David.

The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.
Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place?
He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.
He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah.
Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.

St Michael’s was designed by Edmund Blacket, Australia’s greatest ecclesiastical architect. He also designed St Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney.

1877 Pipe organ installed. Built by Walker & Son, London, which with freight cost 300 pounds.
1884 Gas lighting replaced kerosene lamps and candles
1887 Bulli mine exploded. 81 miners died. Special services were held and the interior of St Michael’s was draped in black and the dead march was played on the organ
1893 Rectory foundation stone laid—completed in 1894.
1902 Mount Kembla mine disaster. The burial register of St Michael’s records the deaths of men and boys killed on that day.
1908 Small hall (now church offices) opened
1914 WWI. During these years St Michael’s bell rang each day at noon to summon people to pray for soldiers and for a “speedy termination of the war”
1919 A memorial tablet “to the Fallen” erected in church
1926 Main hall dedicated
1940 Stone fence erected to honour pioneers
1944 Laying up of the colours of the 34th Infantry Battalion. These flags are located in the Northern Transept
1946 St Michael’s Pre-school Kindergarten (the first pre-school in the Wollongong Area) began. Finished in 2005.
1967 Covered way built, connecting office hall to church building
1968 Extension of large hall
? Original baptismal font now located in Northern garden besides the church
2006 Marketview built on Western third of the block
2014 Siteworks completed to improve disability access, improve drainage around Cathedral sandstone and upgrade the carpark
2021 New slate roof on the Cathedral, new bell housing and re-pointing of the upper Sandstone


1896 St Alban’s Anglican dedicated – a wooden structure across the road from the current church site. It was originally part of the Bulli parish.
1905 Purchased three blocks of land (the current site)
1906 First Curate, Rev. John King-Brown started
1914 Brick church building erected and the wooden church moved to the current site by bullock team and used as a hall.
1926 A rectory (now the office & small hall) is built
1943 Rev Mutton absent, serving as Chaplain AIF (1943-45)
1955 Bellambi Church Hall opened.
1962 A church hall was built and opened in East Corrimal.
1964 St Paul’s Fairy Meadow a provisional district, separated from Corrimal Parish.
1969 New hall and rectory built. The old timber hall moved to Tarrawanna.
1986-7 Bellambi and East Corrimal church halls sold.
1992 Church refurbished – choir stalls and pulpit removed. New carpet laid.
200? Church moved into ministry space in the hall. Church building turned into ‘Hub’ for community ministries
2023 St Michael’s Wollongong + St Alban’s Corrimal become one Parish
2024 New Parent & Multi-purpose room in hall at Corrimal and Wollongong ‘1908 hall’