$2m fix for cathedral



QUEENSLAND Premier Peter Beattie and Bishop of Rockhampton Brian Heenan are standing on shaky ground at St Joseph's Cathedral.

The cathedral is showing cracks in its foundations, which may need up to $2 million to fix.

Mr Beattie, who has had his fair share of political problems of late, is helping the church with $110,000.

Conservatively, the cathedral needs about $400,000 in repairs.

Bishop Heenan said the State contribution would be used partially to fund exploratory work to determine the extent of damage and what needed to be done.

The church has the cathedral insured for about $35 million. In the event of a disaster this would enable it to build a modern building at the site.

"Overall our main concern is the foundation,'' Bishop Heenan said yesterday.

"This could entail a large sum of money, up to $2 million ... although we will not know until the experts come in.''

Mr Beattie said St Joseph's, consecrated in 1882, was a vital part of Rockhampton's heritage.

"Significant structural and cosmetic repairs must be made to ensure the long-term future of this fine example of Victorian Gothic architecture, which was listed on the Queensland Heritage Register in October 1993.

"I understand $2 million will be needed to return the cathedral to its full glory and I will support any application the diocese may make to the Commonwealth's Heritage Grants program.



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