Monday, June 29, 2009

Albert St Methodist (now Uniting) Church

The churches around Brisbane provide an excellent guide to the fabric and growth of the city. The Methodist congregation in Brisbane opened their first church, on the corner of Albert St and Burnett Lane, in 1849. This was a relatively small building, only seating around 150 worshippers. Indeed, in 1853 the Methodist community were forced to remove themselves to the School of Arts in Ann St as a temporary solution to their problem of growth. The School of Arts still stands today (below). (Edit 13/12/2009 - The Church's own web pages state that it was this building that was temporarily used in 1853. However, the building - initially known as the Servants' Home - was not completed until 1866 , so it is likely that the congregation may have used the Brisbane School of Arts building that, in 1853, was situated on the corner of Queen St and Creek St. where the National Australia Bank now stands.)
(Photo: © 2009 the foto fanatic)

Jeays and Thompson replaced the original church with a larger version on the same site in 1856, but by the 1880s this too was overflowing.

Meanwhile, the industrious Methodists were saving and planning for their new church, to be constructed on the corner of Albert and Ann Streets. They were able to lay the foundation stone in 1888, and the splendid new church was opened in November 1889. The church was designed by GHM Addison and built by Thomas Pearson and Sons for the heavenly sum of £10,000. A large organ, built in Manchester, was imported especially to be installed in the church. In the photo below, the completed church can be seen in the year 1910, standing next to the Water and Sewerage Board offices.

(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #2542)

I have to confess to a stab of resentment in looking at the Water and Sewerage Board building, which looked pretty flash in 1910. The house my family and I lived in from 1959 onwards didn't have sewerage until about 1965, when Clem Jones did his sterling job of sewering Brisbane. That only took fifty-odd years then! Can you imagine a family of seven in suburban Brisbane in 1965 with only an earth closet toilet ? I thought not! :-(
(Photo: © 2009 the foto fanatic)

But, back to the reason for this post - the church. It is now one of the most photographed buildings in the city, and is a firm favourite for weddings because of its Victorian Gothic exterior - see my photo above (click for a larger view). The Water and Sewerage Board is no more, and standing on that site is one of the city's several Suncorp Buildings.

Click here for a Google Map.


Pukka sahib


  1. super post ... i went to a wedding at the church in 1981, and i went to a boozy shindig in the centre of the arts in 1986

  2. Its a nice church to film in. especially if the door on the left is open to let in some natural light.

  3. I understand the building that housed the Water and Sewerage Board (to the left of the church in the photo) was originally Brisbane's first dedicated Masonic Temple from 1860-1880 before a new one was opened in Alice St across the road from the Botanical Gardens. That was gifted to the University of Queensland in 1930 and the present Masonic Centre in Ann St opened.


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