Seat of the archdiocese of Nouméa since 1966, Saint Joseph’s Roman Catholic cathedral was built between 1887 and 1897 by a penitentiary workforce and following the construction plans of a former convict named Labulle.
Consecrated in 1890, before the end of its construction, the cathedral is laid out as a 56-meter-long Latin cross, with a 36-meter-large transept. 15.5 meters high, the building's south west facade presents two 25-meter-high towers on both sides of the porch. Both towers, the buttresses and the bay frames are made of cut stone, the other walls are made of lime-rendered rubble stone.
The framework and the pointed ribbed arches are made of Kaori (a massive conifer that produces white or red wood, here red). Lastly, the roof is made of corrugated iron.
A Catholic cathedralVoir plus
A historic monument
Dominating the city center and overlooking the bay, the cathedral, whose architecture evokes certain Latin American churches, was listed as a historical monument in 1992. Its high altar was sculpted in 1867 and was inherited by the Saint-Louis mission, first church of the diocese until the cathedral's consecration in 1893.
At the heart of the cathedral
Among the most remarkable elements of the building are the tamanou woodwork of the choir, of the pulpit and the chapel, or the giant fonts made of real giant clams, which are also called “bénitiers” (fonts), in French! Finally, the chandelier is a replica of the one in the famous Madeleine Church in Paris, and was made with one of the first nickel foils extracted in New Caledonia!