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St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral Adelaide September 2, 2013 Australia

St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Adelaide, South Australia. It is classified as being a Gothic Revival building in the Early English style. The tower stands 36 m high and is 56.5 m lengthwise and 29.5 m horizontally. The foundation stone was laid in 1856, and construction of the tower began in 1887. However, it was not completed until 1996.

In 1838, two years after the proclamation of South Australia, an advertisement was put up to organise religious meetings for South Australian Catholics. The first mass was held in a house on East Terrace in 1840. In 1845, a Catholic Primary School was set up, and used as the religious centre for Catholics, until the foundation stone for a cathedral was laid in 1851 for a design by Richard Lambeth. However, with a gold rush in Victoria, Lambeth left along with many of the population, leaving no plans, and with the community in economic depression.

The original foundation stone was put in place on 17 March 1856 by the Vicar General Father Michael Ryan, with the first part of the cathedral being dedicated on 11 July 1858. It was first extended when construction began at the southern end of the Cathedral, including the sanctuary, Side Chapel, Lady Chapel and Sacristy in January 1859. Construction of the first extension finished the following year in November 1860. With further growth in the population of Adelaide, another extension was required to seat more worshippers. In November 1886, Bishop Reynolds laid the foundation stone for an extension on the eastern side for a further 200 people, as well new vestries and confessionals. These were completed in August the following year. In 1904, electric lighting was introduced. The Cathedral was expanded again in 1923, with extensions to the Western aisle and northern end of the bell tower, and was opened in April 1926 by Archbishop Spence. The cornerstone of the current bell tower was laid in 1887, and although the lower part was
built between 1923 and 1926, it was not completed until 1996, 109 years after construction of the tower commenced. The bell used in the tower is the Murphy Bell of 1867, surrounded by thirteen other bells hung for change ringing, installed in 1996, 7 of these bells date from 1881 and were previously in St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney.
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