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28 April 1858 Bishop Francis Murphy

 28 April 1858   Bishop Francis Murphy

Bishop Francis Murphy, the first Catholic Bishop of Adelaide, was buried in the unfinished St Francis Xavier's Cathedral on 28 April 1858.

Bishop Murphy arrived in Adelaide from Sydney to take up his appointment in December 1844. Prior to the Bishop's arrival there was only one priest in the colony and Mass was said in a storehouse in the city. The Bishop set about improving the situation. In 1845 construction began of Bishop's Palace on West Terrace. In December 1845 he consecrated St Mary's at Morphett Vale, the first Catholic Church in South Australia. In the city a gift of money enabled him to build a large schoolroom, which doubled as a church, and which he named St Patrick's. 

In the 1850s Murphy persuaded Catholics, who went to the gold diggings in Victoria, to contribute some of their gold to the Church, and this enabled him to continue his mission in South Australia. In 1856 he began the building of St Francis Xavier's Cathedral, but died of pulmonary tuberculosis on 26 April 1858 before it was completed. Intramural internments were prohibited in the City of Adelaide, but special permission was granted to allow the Bishop to be buried in the cathedral he had worked so hard for. His funeral cortege was the largest seen in the colony with ministers of all denominations, and public figures, as well as ordinary people, present to honour a man who was highly respected for his piety and charity. At the time of his death there were 21 Catholic churches in SA and 13 priests had been ordained.

The Register, 27 April 1858, p. 2.
usan Marsden, Paul Stark, Patricia Sumerling (eds), Heritage of the City of Adelaide, Corporation of the City of Adelaide, 1990, pp. 73-74.
Thomas Worsnop, History of the City of Adelaide, 1878, pp. 154-155.

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