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St Francis Xavier's Cathedral, Adelaide

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St Francis Xavier's Cathedral, Adelaide

St Francis Xavier's Cathedral, Adelaide
St Francis Xavier's Cathedral, pictured in 2014
Basic information
Location Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Geographic coordinates
Affiliation Roman Catholic
District Metropolitan Archdiocese of Adelaide
Year consecrated 11 July (Stage 1)
18 April (Stage 2)
11 July (Stage 3)
Ecclesiastical or organizational status Cathedral[1]
Leadership Archbishop Philip Wilson
Architectural description
Architect(s) Richard Lambeth, Charles Hansom, and Peter Paul Pugin
Architectural type Church
Architectural style Gothic Revival
Groundbreaking 17 March
Completed 11 July 1996
Height (max) 36 metres
The cathedral in 1863
St Francis Xavier Cathedral, interior

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.[2]

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.[3][4][5] The bells are rung by members of The Australian and New Zealand Association of Bellringers.[6]


Located at the north-western corner is a statue of St John the Baptist, which was carved in Tuscany in 1925 and features a picture of the baptism of Jesus. The Lady Altar, located at the south-west, is made from Carrara marble with inset panels of lapis lazuli, and was dedicated in 1954. Bronze statues of Joseph and Jesus and the flight into Egypt, are also depicted on the western side of the cathedral. At the front of the Cathedral, the southern end, are lancet windows featuring images of St Patrick and St Lawrence, as well depictions of the life of Mary and Jesus. The eastern side of the Cathedral features a statue of St Patrick, the patron of the archdiocese of Adelaide, with Celtic symbols prevalent in the surroundings.[3]

The Cathedral has had three [7]


The cathedral is open daily from early morning until evening, with mass celebrated three times daily. The cathedral also maintains a choir.[8]


  1. ^ "St Francis Xavier's Cathedral". 15 January 2012. Retrieved 3 February 2012. 
  2. ^ "History 1844-1860". St Francis Xavier's Cathedral. Archived from the original on 14 October 2006. Retrieved 28 November 2006. 
  3. ^ a b 10 Minute Cathedral Tour - Explore St. Francis Xavier's Cathedral Adelaide. 2005. 
  4. ^ "The Cathedral Bells". website of St Francis Xavier's Cathedral. Retrieved 15 July 2008. 
  5. ^ "Adelaide, RC Cath Ch of S Francis Xavier".  
  6. ^ "ADELAIDE, ST FRANCIS XAVIER'S CATHEDRAL". ANZAB Tower Directory. The Australian and New Zealand Association of Bellringers. Retrieved 5 April 2014. 
  7. ^ "Cathedral Organs". St Francis Xavier's Cathedral. Archived from the original on 12 October 2006. Retrieved 28 November 2006. 
  8. ^ "Worship". St Francis Xavier's Cathedral. Archived from the original on 12 October 2006. Retrieved 28 November 2006. 

External links

  • Cathedral Parish of St Francis Xavier
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