Sacred Heart Cathedral is one of Australia's largest churches and the second tallest after St Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne.
It is an exceptionally large church for a provincial city cathedral in Australia and its construction was made possible chiefly through the estate of Henry Backhaus - 1811-1882, a German from Paderborn and the first Catholic priest on the Bendigo goldfields.
Backhaus was very skilled in financial matters and accumulated considerable property - not least through encouraging his gold-mining parishioners to contribute some of their findings to the work of the church. Backhaus left his wealth for the benefit of the church and enabled the cathedral, among other things, to be built.
Sacred Heart Cathedral is now the principal Church of the Diocese of Sandhurst and the home Church of the Cathedral Parish serving the people of central and north west parts of the city of Bendigo and many visitors to the church and the city.