Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/34

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exiled children of the Isle of Saints. It has been in course of erection for more than a quarter of a century, the noble sum of £200,000 having been subscribed in voluntary contributions during that period to its building fund by the Irishmen and Irishwomen of Victoria. Though still unfinished, the elaborate and expressive design of its architect, Mr. Wardell, is rapidly being fulfilled. A portion of the main building has for years been used for public worship, accommodation being provided for a congregation of 3,000. When finished, the cathedral will accommodate more than double that number. It occupies the site of a smaller church which was hastily erected when Melbourne was not much larger than a village, but the prophetic eye of faith saw in that village not only the great southern metropolis of to-day, but the far greater city of a coming time. Short-sighted people of that early period were amused and astonished at the idea of the Roman Catholics building a grand cathedral in the "bush," but most of them lived to see what they then called the "bush" become the very heart and centre of the greatest city of Australasia. Addressing a large public meeting of his co-religionists on June 20th, 1880, the Hon. John Gavan Duffy, M.P. reminded his audience of "the wonderful and magnificent basilicas and cathedrals which Catholics in the ages of faith had erected in Europe, which were an honour to their builders, a glory to the earth, and would last as long as the world held together." "We have here," he remarked, "a noble site which should be crowned by a nobler edifice. It has often struck me, when sailing up the bay, what a thrilling spectacle it will be to a Catholic immigrant to see, as he approaches our shores, our noble tower crowned by the Catholic cross, telling him that even in this remote corner of the globe he will not be an outcast or a