Since 1868, this elaborate marble altar has graced the church of Our Lady of the Assumption in Virginia. The text below details the dedication of the altar.
The cost of this was £390, including the mouldings in tile sanctuary, which is in keeping with the style of the altar. Mr McMullen, of Adelaide, put the altar together. The altar arrived by the ship Yatala. The Catholic ladies of Virginia waited on the Vicar-General the Very Rev. J. Smyth, and asked him to send home for plans, which he did, and two were sent out by the agent for the South Australian Diocese, the Very Dr. Heptonstall, of Blackmore Park, England and the one now erected was selected. It was made by one of the first-class marble manufacturers in London, and it was put together in the studio before it was shipped. The chancel or sanctuary in which it is erected is sixteen feet in the clear.
The dedication of the alter took place on September 20th, 1868, the Very Rev. Vicar-General officiating. At 11 o'clock the ceremony commenced by the choir chanting " O Immaculati" according to the rubrics of the Catholic Church. The altar was then solemnly dedicated, and the chancel opened by the Vicar-General, who commenced Mass immediately afterwards, and at the finishing of the last Gospel, preached an eloquent and impressive sermon, taking his text from the Hebrews, ch. xiii., v. 10—"We have an altar whereof they have no right to eat who serve the tabernacle.'
The altar was beautifully decorated with very costly vases and flowers, and on the marble canopy stood a very large statue of the Madonna and Child, which had been given as a present by Michael Hewitt, of Penfield, and on either side stood two magnificent marble vases. Mr. Hewitt has also made a present of six massive silver candlesticks, which cost in the whole fifteen guineas, and are in admirable keeping with the style of the altar. The Vicar-General has also made a present of a handsome marble Credence table. Miss Ward, of Emerald-hill Melbourne, has sent to the Secretary two guineas to purchase something appropriate in tile shape of ornamentation for the altar, and many other presents have been made, including some large and exquisite bunches of flowers which had been given by the Misses Forrestall, and many other very valuable presents are promised and forthcoming.