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Holy Spirit Catholic Church, City Beach


Town of Cambridge

Place Number

There no heritage location found in the Google fusion table.


2 Keaney Pl City Beach

Location Details

Lot bounded by Brompton Rd, Bent St & Keaney Pl

Local Government




Construction Date

Constructed from 1973 to 1974

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents More information
Heritage List Adopted 27 Nov 2018
State Register Registered 26 Aug 2011 Register Entry
Assessment Documentation
Heritage Council

Heritage Council Decisions and Deliberations

Type Status Date Documents
(no listings)

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management More information
Category Description
Municipal Inventory Adopted 27 Nov 2018 Category 1

Category 1

Exceptional Significance Essential to the heritage of the locality. Rare or outstanding example. Recommended for inclusion on the State Register of Heritage Places. The place should be retained and conserved unless there is no feasible and prudent alternative to doing otherwise. Any alterations or extensions should reinforce the significance of the place, and be in accordance with a Conservation Plan (if one exists for the place).

Aboriginal Heritage Sites Register Adopted

Heritage Council
Catholic Church Inventory Completed 01 Jul 1998

Heritage Council

Parent Place or Precinct

09106 Holy Spirit Parish Complex

Statement of Significance

Holy Spirit Catholic Church, City Beach, comprising a Late Twentieth Century Organic style brick church (1973-74), including original fittings and furnishings of high design quality, grotto (1994-95), and ancillary structures has cultural heritage significance for the following reasons:

the place is a striking landmark constructed to a unique sculptural design, with its dramatic external form, high quality interior spaces, and finely designed sanctuary fittings and furnishings;

the place is a good example of a church designed to facilitate liturgical and theological changes in the Catholic church following the
Second Vatican Council, with its open interior layout, clear site lines, placement of altar and baptistery, and lack of barriers to the sanctuary area;

the place is a very fine representative example of Late Twentieth Century Organic style architecture, featuring sweeping curved brick walls and an overall irregular curved floor plan;

the place demonstrates technical proficiency in its use of steel reinforced curved brickwork, and the finished building receiving the
1975 Clay Brick Award; and

the place was designed by the prominent 1950s-980s Western Australian architectural firm Forbes & Fitzhardinge, who were leading exponents of contemporary late twentieth century architecture.

The Presbytery (1964) and Parish Centre (2006) are of little significance. The Grotto (1994-95) is of some significance.

Physical Description

The Holy Spirit Memorial Church is one element of the Holy Spirit complex which also includes the Administration Centre, Presbytery and Primary School. The Church is the major feature of the site and is a landmark in a range of views across City Beach.

The church is of buff brick construction with a prominent curved aesthetic. The church has a blank curved elevation to Keaney Place with an increasingly enlivened elevation as it curves around the driveway. The entrance is located to the southern aspect of the building with stepped entrance to double aluminium doors and a small canopy supported on broad circular brick column. The church continues to curve around with brick elevations and highlight aluminium framed openings until it reaches the blank brick elevation facing the street. The feature aspect of the building is the sloping visible roof form culminating in a fanned window, parapet wall and feature cross. This aspect of the church can be seen in long views across City Beach.

The church is a landmark feature, bearing a resemblance to a shell and is dedicated to Australians who served in the various conflicts.


As this part of the metropolitan area developed in the period following World War II, the Roman Catholic Church recognised the need to establish facilities for members of their community. In 1960, Archbishop Prendiville sent Father Thomas Phelan to establish the new Roman Catholic Parish of City Beach and in 1963 this site was purchased.

At the time of the inauguration of the Parish there was a Catholic population of only fifty five families. Infrastructure development was very slow and there was no access to the Church site for a few years. Much of the preparatory work for the buildings on the site was done by donation. Holy Spirit Presbytery was built during 1964 and survey work for the location of the future buildings was undertaken by new architecture graduate, Mike Fitzhardinge who also designed the school. In 1965, five classrooms were completed and the Holy Spirit school was opened and these rooms served the community as a church until the completion of the church in 1974.

Holy Spirit Church was designed by Forbes and Fitzhardinge Architects Holy Spirit Catholic Church, City Beach was designed in 1972 to reflect the shift in Catholic theology and liturgical practice following the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s, in which church layout was to be amended to allow for greater interaction between the congregation and the sacred elements of the mass administered by priests. The design also sought to minimise the impact of strong westerly winds off the ocean, and its use of steel reinforced curved brickwork, which resulted in the finished building receiving the 1975 Clay Brick Award.

The Holy Spirit Church was blessed and opened for worship by Archbishop Goody on Sunday March 31st 1974. At the ceremony were the Attorney General for Ireland, Declan Costello who happened to be on an official Government visit to Australia and Canon Riley of the St. Christopher’s Anglican Parish in City Beach.

After nearly twenty years of transforming a school into a church each week-end people appreciated the new structure and the comfort for Sunday worship which ensued.

Since the completion of the church by contractors, G. Robinson, there has been little change to the building apart from ongoing maintenance. The tiles on the Church were replaced with tiles from France which resolved an ongoing problem with water ingress. The ceiling was subsequently resprayed.

The Church includes a number of finely designed artworks, including a wheat and grapes design on the silver tabernacle door, Madonna and Child mosaic, ‘Last Supper’ tapestry, stained glass windows, a sculpture of Jesus on the Cross, and Stations of the Cross, all of which were placed in the building in consultation with the original architect. Some of the works were provided by local artists and others were sourced internationally.

Holy Spirit Catholic Church was included on the State Register of Heritage Places in 2011.


Integrity: High
Authenticity: High


Very Good


Name Type Year From Year To
Mike Fitzhardinge Architect 1973 1994
Forbes and Fitzhardinge Architect 1993 1994


Ref ID No Ref Name Ref Source Ref Date
Holy Spirit City Beach Website 2018
State Register Documentation Place 13020 Online Reference 2011

State Heritage Office library entries

Library Id Title Medium Year Of Publication
9282 Holy Spirit Catholic Church Keaney Place, City Beach. Heritage Study {Cons'n Plan} 2009

Place Type

Individual Building or Group


Epoch General Specific
Present Use RELIGIOUS Church, Cathedral or Chapel
Original Use RELIGIOUS Church, Cathedral or Chapel
Original Use RELIGIOUS Housing or Quarters

Architectural Styles

Late 20th-Century Organic

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Wall BRICK Common Brick
Roof TILE Ceramic Tile

Historic Themes

General Specific
DEMOGRAPHIC SETTLEMENT & MOBILITY Immigration, emigration & refugees

Creation Date

18 Dec 1998

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

24 May 2019


This information is provided voluntarily as a public service. The information provided is made available in good faith and is derived from sources believed to be reliable and accurate. However, the information is provided solely on the basis that readers will be responsible for making their own assessment of the matters discussed herein and are advised to verify all relevant representations, statements and information.