Portland in the south-west, the oldest town in Victoria, was founded as a coastal and pastoral settlement. The census of 1841 shows 203 Catholics in the district.
The first Mass in the part of Victoria that later became Ballarat Diocese was celebrated in Portland in November 1844 by Archbishop Polding of Sydney.
The first resident priest arrives at Portland. By 1849 a chapel had been built and soon after a school was started, also held in the chapel, with Miss Rosanna Phillipina Quinn as the first teacher.
Gold was discovered at Clunes and other gold strikes followed progressively throughout the Central Victorian region bringing thousands of Europeans to the area..
The first Mass is celebrated at Ballarat diggings.
The Ballarat Parish is established.
In Ballarat at the start of 1853 there were 850 children on the diggings. By the end of the year there were 3,600.
Fr Patrick Smyth, a young priest, protects and nurses the wounded miners after the Eureka Stockade rebellion.
The first stone is laid for the church of St Patrick’s in Ballarat.
Government Land Acts open up Western Victoria to more settlement.
Government funding to schools is cut and Mary MacKillop’s Sisters of St Joseph take up teaching roles in many schools. Other orders of religious sisters and brothers, mostly from Ireland, are brought
St Patrick’s Church Ballarat is raised to Cathedral status and Bishop Michael O’Connor is installed as 1st Bishop Of Ballarat on 20th December.
The Diocese of Ballarat is established in April.
James Moore is consecrated as 2nd Bishop of Ballarat on 27th April.
The Chaffey Brothers establish a settlement at Mildura opening up the north west of Victoria.
St Patrick’s Cathedral Ballarat is consecrated by Archbishop Moran of Sydney.
Joseph Higgins, Bishop of Rockhampton becomes the 3rd Bishop of Ballarat on 3rd March.
Daniel Foley is consecrated as 4th Bishop on 24th August.
After World War I, soldier settlement and the Murray irrigation scheme brought a wave of new communities and parishes in the north and far west of the Diocese.
James P. O’Collins, Bishop of Geraldton becomes 5th Bishop of Ballarat on 23rd December.
The aftermath of World War II causes significant immigration from Europe and there is growth in communities across the Diocese.
Diocesan Journal Light is established.
Bishop R.A.Mulkearns is installed as Bishop of Ballarat on 21st May.
Centenary celebrations of the Diocese are held on 22nd March.