East Brisbane Churches

St Paul’s Anglican Church
Dedication of St Paul’s Anglican 
  1. Introduction and overview

On Sunday 21 September 1924 the Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane, Dr Sharp, dedicated St Paul’s Anglican Church at 554 Vulture Street East in East Brisbane. The now State heritage-listed impressive red brick church was built to a Gothic-style design by diocesan architects Atkinson & Conrad (now Conrad & Gargett), similar to that of the nearby ‘Churchie Chapel’, which they also designed and which was dedicated on 4 May 1924.

Dedication of St Paul’s on 21 September 1924. (Telegraph, 23 Septermber 1924)

The history of St Paul’s goes back to 11 January 1887 when a group of local East Brisbane Anglican residents met at a building (now 17 Didsbury St) owned by Charles Ewbank to discuss establishing a church in the suburb. Twelve days later, on 23 January the first service was held at the same venue. The celebrant was a curate from St Mary’s at Kangaroo Point which had opened 14 years earlier, in 1873.

As attendances at services and Sunday School continued to increase, the parish was ready to work towards getting their own church. After a period of intense fund-raising they were able to buy a site on the corner of Vulture and Edgar Streets. As more funds were raised plans for a temporary timber church were drawn up, construction began and the new church was dedicated by Archbishop Sharp on 1 December 1887.

By 1912 the congregation had outgrown the timber church and began planning for a new permanent church. Once again a fund-raising campaign was started, but was interrupted in 1914 by the outbreak of World War I.  The community was granted official Parish status in  1923 and shortly after was authorised to build a new church when funds permitted.

Progress was swift from then on. In June 1923 the Anglican Diocese bought a new site on the corner of Vulture Street and Balmoral Tce. This was a more prominent and suitable location as it was on the crest of the hill and close to a tramline.

It was agreed that the new church would be built of brick and not timber to signify permanence. Plans were drawn up by renowned architects Atkinson and Conrad, tenders were called in January 1924 and the contract was awarded to Mr J Hood. The foundation stone was laid on 23 March by the Archbishop. Six months later the new church was complete and dedicated on 21 September 1924.


99th Birthday Celebrations and Commissioning Service

Yesterday afternoon, Sunday 24 September 2023,  I was privileged to join a large congregation of parishioners and guests in the historic heritage-listed St Paul’s Anglican Church in East Brisbane. It was a special thanksgiving service to mark the 99th anniversary of the dedication of the church on 21 September 1924.

The afternoon started with the blessing of the beautifully restored Walker Organ by the Right Reverend John Roundhill, Bishop for the Southern Region. Well-known guest organist Steven Morris then played the organ throughout the service. Mr Morris’ excellent playing demonstrated the best sounds of the organ and was much appreciated by the gathering.  After a few words about the history of the church, the Bishop performed the moving ceremony of commissioning the very popular and highly regarded Reverend Mark Vincent as Priest-in-Charge of the Parish of East Brisbane.

As I looked around this impressive solid brick Gothic-style church with the exposed timber roof trusses, stained glass windows and timber pews I couldn’t help be amazed that 99 years ago this beautiful solid building was erected in only six months! I’m sure that wouldn’t be possible these days!

After the service everyone moved to the parish hall for drinks, a presentation by Rev. Vincent about the planned centenary celebrations next year, a look at the history display put together by Julie Vincent, followed by a shared meal. There was a happy buzz and very warm atmosphere as past and present parishioners shared stories and reminisced. The collage below tells the story of a memorable afternoon.

99th Birthday Celebrations at St Paul’s. (collage by Christa Gerard)

St Paul’s has weekly Sunday services at 8:30 am (8:00 am from 1 October) and warmly welcomes visitors. See https://stpaulseastbrisbane.org.au/


On this day a hundred years ago: laying of the foundation stone

On Sunday afternoon 23 March 1924 at 4:00 pm several hundred parishioners and friends of St Paul’s Anglican Church in East Brisbane gathered together to celebrate the laying of the foundation stone for their new church.  Here’s an overview of its fascinating history.

Aerial of the three locations of St Paul’s Anglican church and the procession route for laying of the foundation stone for the current permanent church. (Google Street View/ annotations by C.Gerard) ad

It all began on 11 January 1887 when a group of local Anglican residents met in the home of Charles Ewbank in Didsbury Street (No. 1 on map) to discuss establishing their own church in the area. Churches in the area at that time were Holy Trinity Anglican at Woolloongabba (1869), St Mary’s Anglican at Kangaroo Point (1873), and the  Mowbraytown Presbyterian Church (1885).  From 23 January 1887 small services conducted by a curate of St Mary’s  as well as Sunday School classes were held in the Ewbank home.

As attendances at services and Sunday School grew the congregation decided it was time for them to build their own church. After a period of intense fundraising and hard work they bought a site on the corner of Vulture and Edgar Streets [No. 2 on map] in what was then known as Darragh’s Paddock or East Woolloongabba for £215.

Map of Darragh’s paddock estate sale 15 May 1886. (State Library of Queensland)

Not long after plans for a temporary timber church were drawn up, construction began and the new church was dedicated by Archbishop Sharp on 1 December 1887, just under eleven months after that first meeting!The first timber church. (supplied)

The congregation continued to grow rapidly and soon started to outgrow the small church. In 1912 planning for a new permanent church began and fundraising efforts started but were interrupted by the outbreak of World War II in 1914 and did not recommence until 1922. The community was granted Parish status in 1923 and in May was authorised to build a new church when funds were available.

The altar inside the first church. (supplied)

Once again progress was quick. A new site was bought on the corner of Vulture Street and Balmoral Terrace [No 3 on map]. The location was more suitable for a permanent church as it was on the crest of a hill and close to the south turn of the East Brisbane  tramline.

The brick church at 554 Vulture Street.

Renowned architects Atkinson and Conrad were commissioned to draw up plans for a brick church, tenders were called in January 1924 and the contract awarded to Mr J Hood for £5,067. The rector Rev. G. Neal turned the first sod on 5 February and on 14 February laid the first brick.

On 23 March 1924 a special service was held in the timber church “and then a long procession, headed by a Cross-bearer, carrying the Processional Cross recently presented to the church, wended its way up the hill to the new site, the visiting clergy, the rector of the Parish and the Archbishop and his Chaplains bringing up the rear.

A large crowd was waiting for the ceremony of laying the [foundation] stone. The service was a customary one. The Church Mission Band led the hymns.’

 

 

Archbishop Sharp would return six months later on 21 September to officially dedicate the new church to mark the beginning of a new chapter for the parish of St Paul’s.

Canon Jones Memorial Chapel

The Canon Jones Memorial Chapel is located in the grounds of the Anglican Church Grammar School (Churchie) in Oaklands Parade, East Brisbane. The foundation stone was laid by Archbishop Gerald Sharp on 1 August 1923. It was built out of red bricks on what was then the highest part of the school grounds. Built by Thomas Keenan, the building could accommodate 250 boys. It was dedicated by the Archbishop on 4 May, 1924.

The Canon Jones Memorial Chapel ca. 1924. (State Library of Queensland)
Church of England Grammar School Chapel in 1960. (Brisbane City Council B54-13743)
The chapel in 2018.
Inside the chapel at Open House 2018.
Seat cushion for headmasters. (supplied: C.Gerard)
Street view of the chapel at Open House 2018.