Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Our Lady of Victories

During the years from 1917 to 1965, James Duhig was the Catholic Archbishop of Brisbane, and he was responsible for enormous growth in the church - not only in terms of congregation, but also education and perhaps most notably, property. During this period he presided over the construction of more than 400 new church buildings, many on prime hilltop sites in Brisbane, and he became known as "James the Builder". One of the earlier churches built during his tenure was the Our Lady of Victories church in Bowen Hills, constructed in 1924-5 on land purchased from the Perry family (Perry House, Perry Park - more on them later). Here is a photograph of the church from around 1928.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #71096)

This church is unique in that it was constructed not only as a place of worship, but also as a memorial to the Catholic servicemen who were killed in the Great War. The Spanish mission styled church was designed by Brisbane architectural firm Hall & Prentice and constructed by a Mr H Cheetham (just as well his first name wasn't Ian or Ivan!) for £9435, which included the £400 architectural fee. In 1955, Archbishop Duhig handed the church over to the Polish community, and the Franciscan Brothers have provided mass in English and Polish from that year onwards. Those wishing to read more about the history of this church should visit this Queensland Government EPA site. Because of its landmark position at Bowen Hills, together with its 40-odd metre spire, the church is readily seen from many parts of Brisbane. My photo, below, was taken from the deck of a CityCat on the Brisbane River.
(Photo: © 2009 the foto fanatic)

Another feature of the church is the blue neon cross on the top of the spire, ensuring that the church stands out at night as well as during the day. I thought this may have been a more modern addition to the church, but in fact "the large electrically illuminated cross" was evident from the very beginning, as reported in a Catholic newspaper of the time. It may have provided some comfort to the many soldiers stationed just down the road at Camp Perry Park during WWII.

Click here for a Google Map.


Next: May the force be with you

PS: There will be no posts over the
Easter holiday break. For those regular readers (hi, Mum!) my next post will be on Wednesday 15th April.


  1. Wonderful to see photos of Our Lady of Victories where my brother and I both went to school for some time.

  2. It is a lovely building and such a landmark.

    Thanks for visiting.


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