Goold, James Alipius (1812–86), catholic archbishop of Melbourne, was born 4 November 1812 in Cork city into a prominent Cork merchant patrician family, whose wealth had started to decline. His father's name is unknown, but his mother was a Hynes, also from Cork, and an uncle was Dr James Hynes, bishop of Demerara, British Guiana. James was educated at an Augustinian school on Brunswick St., and afterwards started his noviciate in the Augustinian priory at Grantstown, Co. Wexford. He was received into the order on 30 March 1832. That year he left for Italy and spent time in Rome and Perugia, where he was ordained priest (1835). Still in Rome in 1837, he was recruited by Dr William Ullathorne, vicar general of New Holland, Australia, for missionary service in New South Wales. After permission from his order, he arrived in Sydney on 24 February 1838.
After a few months working for Archdeacon McEncroe of Sydney, Goold was appointed to Campbelltown, where he remained five years. He was noted for completing the church of St John, for founding a catholic school, for decisiveness, common sense, and piety, and for establishing friendly relations with protestants. In 1847, when a new diocese was created in Melbourne, Goold was appointed its bishop on 9 July. Because of administrative difficulties he was not consecrated until 6 August 1848.
Goold was restrained and unflamboyant, but had a calculated sense of occasion. To reach Melbourne he set out from Sydney in a carriage and four, claiming that he was the first person to have covered the 600 miles (966 km) in that fashion. He stopped regularly en route to say mass and was met just outside Melbourne by a large contingent of catholics, who accompanied him into the city on horseback. Over the next few months he backed up his showy arrival with concrete action, advancing not just the cause of the church but specifically of Irish catholics, who were then regarded as inferior citizens. He disputed the title ‘bishop of Melbourne’ with the anglican Dr Perry, who thought he had sole claim to it, and disregarded a government regulation requiring him to submit all decisions to the head of the catholic church in Australia, Bishop John Polding, an English Benedictine, who had not favoured Goold's appointment. His next stand was in education when he successfully objected to the appointment of a well-connected English catholic to the denominational schools board, on the grounds that he had not been consulted. Having thus established his authority, he turned to the pressing problem of recruitment and church-building. On his arrival his diocese had just two churches, a few chapels, and four priests to cater for 10,000 catholics. The problem became more acute after the gold rush of 1851: within three years the catholic population had increased fivefold. Goold founded in 1849 a funding organisation, called the Catholic Association, and two years later visited Ireland and England on a recruiting drive. Over the next two decades he was successful in attracting Jesuits, Christian Brothers, Augustinians, Sisters of Charity, and Sisters of Mercy, particularly from Ireland. Education was his great preoccupation; wary of the increasing influence of what he styled ‘secular humanism’, he founded in 1860 the catholic education committee to establish central control. It helped set up catholic secondary schools (previously there were only primary schools) and frequently clashed with the board of education. In 1872, against the advice of his lay and clerical advisers, Goold published a pastoral in advance of the election, calling on catholics to vote against candidates who favoured compulsory secular state education. His move backfired; alarmed protestant voters came out en masse, and in December 1872 the Victorian parliament passed an act making education secular. Catholic schools were thus deprived of vital government subsidies; over the next decade compromises were suggested but Goold refused to dilute in any way the authority of the catholic education committee. Nevertheless, catholic schools managed to survive through voluntary subscriptions.
Goold's other major concern was building a cathedral. St Patrick's on Eastern Hill had been planned early in his episcopate, but he twice halted the rising structure and ordered plans to be redrawn to ensure a larger, better cathedral. At the time of his death the cathedral was in its third version and still unfinished but fit for partial use. Work was not finally completed until 1939, but it was then arguably the finest catholic cathedral in Australia and is regarded as Goold's monument.
When Melbourne was made a metropolitan see on 31 March 1874, Goold became archbishop. He continued to enjoy excellent health until he was shot at in Brighton (21 August 1882) by Peter O'Farrell, brother of the deranged assassin Henry James O'Farrell. The O'Farrells had had a disagreement with Goold in 1854 over the settlement of their father's estate, and the bishop had also been instrumental in preventing Henry from being ordained in 1855. Goold, though weakened, survived the attack and continued to travel around his diocese until he died of a heart attack in Brighton on 11 June 1886. He was buried in St Patrick's cathedral.
A strong man with a face like a full-grown cherub, Goold was energetic, humourless, single-minded, and a disciplinarian. O'Connellite in his youth, he later kept disengaged from Irish politics; when Parnell (qv) sent the brothers John (qv) and William Redmond (qv) to Victoria to raise funds, Goold wrote home angrily: ‘Keep your red-hot politicians in Ireland where they are much needed’ (Crowley, 209). Critics complained that he was authoritarian, uncompromising, and financially unaccountable. However, his feat in meeting the educational and pastoral needs of a rapidly and suddenly expanding catholic population is undisputed, and he was largely responsible for the spread of Irish religious orders to Australia.