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17 March 1856 St Francis Xavier's Cathedral

 17 March 1856   St Francis Xavier's Cathedral

The foundation stone of St Francis Xavier's Cathedral was laid on 17 March 1856. Bishop Murphy first convened a meeting in February 1848 to consider the building of a cathedral, but it was some time before the plans were under way. The design of architect Richard Lambeth was selected and work on the foundations began in April 1851. However, the withdrawal of state aid that year together with the large exodus to the Victorian goldfields brought the project to a halt.

In 1854 Bishop Murphy obtained revised plans from England and construction of the first portion of the building began again in 1856. This was dedicated on 11 July 1858, and in 1860 the chancel was sanctified. The building remained at this stage for twenty years until it was enlarged in the 1880s. In the 1920s further work costing £60,000 was done to enlarge the cathedral, complete the facade, and raise the tower to a height to include a temporary bell chamber.

The completion of the long-awaited spire was begun in 1995.

Susan Marsden, Paul Stark, Patricia Sumerling (eds), Heritage of the City of Adelaide, Corporation of the City of Adelaide, 1990,  pp. 179-181.

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