alt 1992-2017

Bishop Justin Joseph Bianchini, the eighth Bishop of Geraldton, was 51 years of age and a Perth priest for 28 years before becoming the third Bishop to be consecrated in Geraldton Cathedral. Bishop Justin became the longest serving Bishop of the Diocese, having celebrated his Episcopal Silver Jubilee on the day the new Bishop was Ordained, the 28th of June 2017. In his time as Bishop the SFX Cathedral Parish moved from the Diocesan Office to their own offices attached to the Cathedral Centre. He established the Parish Life and Mission Office in a newly built premises alongside the Parish office, to house a Liturgy Office, Resource Library, Yanaii Aboriginal Ministry Centre, Catechist support, Caritas and Catholic Mission. Centacare also out grew their premises a number of times, as the services they offered grew, and finally moved into a purpose built complex, the Mary Ryan Centre, at 3 Maitland Street. Over the last ten years of his time in the Diocese, Bishop Justin was responsible for spearheading the Community in undertaking the Cathedral Precinct Project, to restore and enhance the beautiful Cathedral of St Francis Xavier, something very close to his heart.
Bishop Justin retired to Perth to be closer to his family, but remains very much part of the Diocese of Geraldton.

alt 1984-1991

Bishop Barry James Hickey, the seventh bishop was the first to be born in the Geraldton Diocese, at Leonora. The second to be consecrated in Geraldton Cathedral, he was 48 years of age and had been a Perth priest for 26 years. His seven years in charge of Geraldton Diocese saw the completion of the Cathedral Presbytery, the construction of the adjacent cathedral Centre the final consecration of the cathedral. The sudden death, in Perth, of his predecessor resulted in him being called also to head to Perth Archdiocese.


Bishop William Foley, the sixth Bishop was 50 years of age and a Perth priest for 27 years when he became the first Bishop ever to be Consecrated in Geraldton's St Francis Xavier Cathedral. He had scarcely got to know his diocese when 2 years later he was chosen to be Archbishop of Perth before his departure he had set up the plans for the construction of a new cathedral residence.


Bishop Francis Xavier Thomas, Geraldton's fifth bishop, and the third to come from Victoria was aged 56 years and had been a Bendigo priest for 32 years. He was faced by the fresh challenge of new mining ventures, this time the iron won in the Pilbara, requiring the establishment of a dozen churches and mass centres to cater for a very mobile catholic population.  At the same time schools saw the decline in the number of religious teachers to less than the number 50 years early. And with the reorganisation, the number of schools actually decreased while enrolments continued to reach record levels. His 19 years in charge finished when he reached 75 in 1981, followed by his death in retirement 6 years later.


Bishop Alfred Joseph Gummer, the fourth bishop, had to be selected and consecrated in N.S.W. with all speed in 1942 as Northern Australia readied itself for the Japanese attack that would reach Port Hedland and the new Presentation Convent there.

The new Bishop was aged 43 and had been a priest for 19 years.  The early period of his 20 years in charge of the diocese was disruptive by the war time absence of service men and their return and re-settlement.  Then came the first wave of Australia's new migrant in particular the young English girls to Nazareth House and English and Maltese youths to Tardun.  Migrants were to be found also at the new mining establishment at Wittenoom, the first hint of the north that would be opened up.


Bishop James O'Collins, the third bishop and also from Melbourne, was 34 years of age and a priest of only 7 years when in 1930 he set about rallying the diocese for a remarkable 11 years of expansion - much of it in the expanding wheatlands around Geraldton. Notwithstanding the economic depression that lasted almost all of the decade, he saw parishes double in number, while priest numbers trebled and religious sisters reached 133. Many of the churches and schools were to Hawe's designs, culminating in the 1938 formal completion of the cathedral masterpiece.


Bishop Richard Ryan the second Bishop, occupies barely two of the next eight years of the Geraldton diocese's history 1922-1930. An Irish-born Vincentian priest from Melbourne, he was 42 years of age and a priest for 16 years at the time, with a reputation for parish mission preaching. But he found the outback conditions too much of a challenge before returning to Victoria's Sale diocese.


Bishop William Bernard Kelly was 44 years of age and already a priest for 15 years when he became Geraldton diocese's founding Bishop in 1898. Born at York, he became the first West Australian born priest in the Colony.
Nearly half of his 23 years as a Bishop were spent ministering from Cue in the Murchison Goldfields where most of his Catholic flock lived.

Back in Geraldton, his achievement of seeing to the construction of 20 churches and 15 schools was crowned by the commencement in 1916 of the spectacular cathedral, to a design by Father John Hawes, and beneath which he was buried following his death in 1921.

Aged 64 when he died, he showed the effects of the hard conditions under which he, his 11 priests, 84 Presentation and Dominican Sisters and 6000 Catholic had struggled to establish their Catholic diocesan presence.