Consecrated in 1874, St David's is the Bishop of Tasmania's principal place of teaching. It is a cathedral because it is the place where the bishop's cathedra or seat is placed. It is also the venue for great occasions of diocese, city and state.
The mission of St David's is "Proclaiming Jesus as Lord in the Heart of Hobart to build a community of living faith, profound hope and practical love." 
The building sits on the corner of Macquarie and Murray Streets and forms one quadrant of what is considered to be[by whom?] the finest Georgian streetscape in Australia. On the pinnacles of each gable is a quatrefoil, repeated on the extremities of the large crucifix of the rood screen which dominates the sanctuary.
The cathedral choir offers sacred music both classical and contemporary in worship and in concert. The organ, considered one of the superior organs of Australia,[by whom?] is played by quality organists. The acoustics and 650 seating capacity demand frequent concerts. Appearances of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Hobart City Band, massed military bands, the Royal Copenhagen Chapel Choir and the Sydney Brass Quintet were features of 2008.
The cathedral tower has a peal of 10 bells, with the tenor of 21 long cwt (2,400 lb or 1,100 kg), set for full circle ringing. Most of the bells are from 1935 (with several newer bells installed in 2005) and all were founded by John Taylor & Co. They are rung by members of The Australian and New Zealand Association of Bellringers.
St David's is known for its contemporary Anglican liturgy. Linked with England's Coventry Cathedral, the dean and associate clergy are "committed to creative liturgies that lift the heart and proclaim the Biblical faith as our society, increasingly dissatisfied with a purely materialistic world view, seeks a sense of the transcendent and apprehension of a living spirituality."
This desire for a "living spirituality" is reflected in the cathedral's commitment to serve the city, state and community. In services from those for the opening of law term, the opening of parliament, Heart Foundation, the Cancer Council Tasmania, Battle of Britain, Anzac Day, Hutchins and Collegiate schools and as a venue for state secondary and senior secondary schools the tranquillity and peace is often suspended with laughter, tears and memories.
In 1842 Hobart was declared a city and the existing St David's Church became St David's Cathedral. The Reverend Francis Russell Nixon was appointed first Bishop of Tasmania and Frederick Holdship Cox the first Dean of St David's.
The current St David's Cathedral was built between 1868 and 1936 and is in the Gothic Revival style. The original design was by the English architect George Frederick Bodley. There are old flags dating from the time when Tasmania stopped being a convict settlement. There are also stained-glass windows depicting saints, knights, kings and biblical characters. Along the walls there are small memorial plaques dedicated to deceased members.
The cathedral's distinctive features also include an arcaded entrance with a large west window and buttressed turrets; a square tower made of Oatlands stone; and a close on the southern side with old trees. Located at the corner of Macquarie and Murray Streets, the building is on the register of the National Estate.