THE CATHEDRAL CHURCH OF CHRIST, commonly known as CHRIST CHURCH CATHEDRAL, is a valuable heritage precinct within the city of Grafton.
The precinct includes the Cathedral itself, but also the extensive grounds and several other buildings that comprise the Cathedral Close:
Two nineteenth-century cottages: the Ministry Centre, and the Greenway Cottage
The Hunt Hall
The Welfare and Education Centre, which includes the Cathedral Bookshop, Cathedral OpShop, Parish Office, and Edwards Hall.
A little further down Duke Street, you will find the historic Deanery, which was built in 1872 and serves as the residence of the Dean of Grafton.
The Cathedral is open most weekdays between 8.30am and 6.00pm. On weekends its usually closes by 4.00pm.
Individuals and groups are welcome to explore the Cathedral and its grounds.
The Cathedral Church of Christ was built in two stages, with the earliest phase constructed in 1884. The Cathedral was effectively completed 50 years later when the western half of the current building was constructed, including the Baptistry. Subtle changes may be observed in the bricks and windows, as well as the termination of the decorative ceramic floor tiles in the nave.
An extensive conservation project was undertaken in the early 1980s in preparation for the centenary of the Cathedral. Further major conservation work on the Baptistry was completed in late 2018, with work on the two historic cottages scheduled for attention next. This work is undertaken within the guidelines of the NSW Heritage Commission. The Cathedral appreciates the financial assistance received for this new work, and invites other contributions from our friends and supporters as we seek to preserve this heritage precinct for future generations.
Further details of the conservation projects are available online.
The oldest building in the Close is the most northerly red brick cottage facing Duke Street. The building—now known as the Ministry Centre—was constructed around 1856 and restored in 1984. The cottage next to the Ministry Centre was built circa 1891 only a few years after the Cathedral. Like its neighbour, it was restored in 1984. This cottage—known as Greenway Cottage—currently houses the Cathedral's music department with an office for the Director of Music, choir rehearsal room and choir robing room.
The Hunt Hall, also designed by Horbury Hunt was completed in 1890. Adjoining the hall is the Cathedral Parish Centre, completed in 1976 and incorporating the Parish Office, a kitchen area and The Edwards Hall (in lieu of a chapter house). The bell tower was moved from its original site
near the first church when the new Cathedral was opened in 1884.
The Clarence Valley Anglican School, Junior campus building (formerly The Cathedral School) was built in 1954 as a Youth and Synod Centre. In 1962 an extension was added for the Bishop's Registry. In 1998 the building was handed over to establish The Cathedral School, and the Bishop's Registry moved to a commercial premise further down Victoria Street.
There is a related cluster of historical buildings adjacent to the Cathedral but just outside the Close. The Deanery was built in 1872. At one time it would have overlooked the original wooden church which was built in 1854 close to the street corner opposite the Cathedral. It was demolished in 1900 and a memorial stone in the grounds of Clarence Valley Anglican School (formerly The Cathedral Scool) marks its location. The Registrar's residence, McWilliam Lodge (which is now privately owned), was built around 1910 then renovated in 1991 and again in 2018/2019. It was named after the first registrar of the Diocese. Bishopholme is also situated atop the river bank and was completed in 1924. All three houses in this cluster have sweeping views of the river.
The church property facing the Clarence River provides views across to South Grafton and a pleasant walk west along the levee. Indications of flood heights show why the river has been an integral part of the City's and indeed the Cathedral's history from the earliest days.