James Alipius Goold, first Bishop and Archbishop of Melbourne, was born in Cork, Ireland, in 1812. He received his early education there at a small Augustinian school and later entered the Order of St Augustine. Ordained in Perugia, Italy, he volunteered for the mission of New South Wales following a chance meeting with Dr Ullathorne in Rome. After his arrival in Australia in 1838 he was appointed parish priest of the Campelltown district, N.S.W.
In 1847 the Diocese of Melbourne was established with Goold as its Bishop. He was 36 years old when consecrated a Bishop in Sydney on 6 August 1848. Setting out almost immediately from Sydney, Goold travelled overland to Melbourne by a coach drawn by four horses and arrived there on 4 October 1848. Bishop Goold laid the foundation stone of the first St Patrick’s Church on the 9th of April 1850. When gold was discovered, he decided not to proceed with this building because he foresaw Melbourne’s rapid population growth and the need for a larger Cathedral. Thus he engaged newly-arrived English architect, William Wilkinson Wardell, to design a grand Cathedral church for Melbourne.The contract for the new building was signed in 1858. Steady progress was made and the nave and the aisles were completed by 1868. In 1874 Melbourne was elevated to an Archbishopric.
In 1886 Archbishop Goold died, less than six months before the great tower was completed and was laid to rest beneath the pavement of the nearly finished chapel of the Holy Souls.
Archbishop Goold went to Ireland in June 1859 to request of the Sisters of Mercy establishment of a community in Geelong. The invitation was accepted and four nuns including Mother Xavier Maguire arrived in Geelong in December 1859.
To Mother Xavier Maguire and the Sisters at Geelong, Archbishop Goold was a true friend and benefactor, visiting the convent often, celebrating mass and assisting with elections of Rev. Mother Superior and Professions. In a letter dated 15th July 1859, Mother Xavier Maguire writes:
Our most kind Bishop came yesterday to see us, he has cheered us up and taken a great weight off my mind. He has given me leave to act in any way I think best.
When Archbishop Goold died, he bequeathed to the Geelong Convent, his Chalice inscribed with his name given to him by Pope Pius IX on a visit to the Vatican, an alabaster and marble crucifix made by the Italian Sculptor Giuseppe Andrea in Pisa in 1856, and also his embossed silver tea and coffee service.
A legacy of £2338.15.3 from the Estate of the Late Archbishop was received in 1888, as well as another legacy of £60 and a £50 donation towards the new cemetery.