Original altar of Immaculate Conception Hawthorn 52/11/3, a photo by Boroondara Libraries on Flickr.
The original altar of Immaculate Conception Church in Hawthorn is a beautiful example of wood carving. It was imported from Belgium by Parish Priest Father Edward Nolan for the opening of the church in 1869 at a total cost including freight and duty of 170 pounds. It is the work of distinguished Louvain wood carver, M. Vermeylen.
The Melbourne Advocate reporter at the opening was amazed by the altar and reredos forming a triple arch behind it to contain the tabernacle and the statues of Our Lady and St Joseph. He stated: "We believe that this is the first altar of oak imported into these colonies, and it is certainly unequalled for beauty in Australia."