When Cardinal Patrick Moran of Sydney wrote his History of the Catholic Church in Australia, he recalled the laying of the foundation stone of what was to become the first cathedral in this land. His eminence declared:
"Who was the patron selected by the people and their newly arrived pastor, Father Therry, for the Mother Church? Mary, the Immaculate Mother of God, under the special invocation of Help of Christians, was chosen patroness. In choosing Mary, the young Church was following a sure Catholic instinct.
The infant Church in Australia had a special reason for turning to Mary. In those early and mostly priestless days, it was largely the Rosary that kept the faith alive. Catholic Australia remained faithful to Mary, and was the first nation to choose her, under the title of Help of Christians, as principal Patroness.
It was in 1844, at the first assembly of bishops ever held in the British dominions since the Reformation, that Mary was re-accorded her place of honour. It was a long way and a long time from Sydney Town to Walshinghan; but the Southland was to become her Second Dowry.