Reverend George Henry BackhausPrint Page Print this page

Reverend Backhaus Plaque : November 2013
Reverend Backhaus Plaque : November 2013

Photographs supplied by Nancy Alford

The main altar and sanctuary were dedicated in 1977 to commemorate Reverend Henry Backhaus, first Catholic priest on the Victorian Goldfields.

Reverend Backhaus sailed from Adelaide in the Marshal Bennett on 4 March 1852 , and arrived in Melbourne eleven days later. He  volunteered to make the gold diggings his mission field. An entry made by him in a family Bible states that on Sunday, 25 April 1852, he, 'having been appointed the first priest to take charge of the Catholic population on the Victorian goldfields, celebrated the first Mass in the Gold Commissioner's camp at Forest Creek diggings'. He said the first Sunday Mass in the Bendigo area on 2 May 1852.


Address:66 Short Street, Sacred Heart Cathedral, Bendigo, 3550
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -36.760262
Long: 144.273659
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Religious Object
Monument Theme:People


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Saturday 14th May, 1977
Inscription in Proximity

Rev. Dr. Henry Backhaus DD VG. Dean of Sandhurst
Born 15 February 1812 - Died 7 September 1882

Henry Backhaus was appointed " first priest to take charge of the Catholic Population on Victorian goldfields." His first public mass in Bendigo was celebrated on May 2, 1852.The main altar and sanctuary were dedicated in his memory on May 14, 1977,  recognising his pioneering ministry in establishing and fostering growth of the
Catholic faith in the area we know as Bendigo.

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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