History of the Cathedral Choir

In 1818, Catherine Fitzpatrick (1785–1861) convened a group of singers to provide music at Catholic liturgies in the young colony of New South Wales.

Fitzpatrick was an educated Irish woman, a schoolteacher, who had freely come to NSW to be near her husband Bernard, who had been transported to the colony with a conviction of embezzlement. She was part of the group of Catholics who sheltered Fr Jeremiah O’Flynn, an Irish priest who had himself come to the colony to minister to Catholic convicts against the wishes of the colonial government. O’Flynn was deported on 20th May 1818, and Catherine Fitzpatrick worked with a certain McGuire to train singers for a Choir to sing at Mass and Vespers in anticipation of a time when priests would officially be appointed to minister to the colony. Those priests arrived in May 1820 and the Choir was ready for them.

When St Mary’s Chapel (1821) became a Cathedral with the arrive of Bishop Polding in 1835, the Choir was an obvious choice to provide music to assist at the Cathedral’s liturgies when its construction was completed, and Catherine Fitzpatrick was its first conductor.

Visit https://cathedralchoir.sydney/about/history/ for more information.