Monday, October 19, 2009

Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Fortitude Valley

A Mr FDG Stanley (Francis Drummond Greville to his friends!) was the Colonial Architect in the early days of Queensland, and in his spare time, he liked buildings! He was a rather busy man at work and at play, because his work is still turning heads all over Queensland. His list of Brisbane achievements is quite extensive - the Port Office, St Paul's Presbyterian, the former State Library building in William St, and the old Government Printery, to name a few. He also designed today's building, which is the Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Fortitude Valley - right opposite the Valley Police Station in Wickham St. Brisbane people must have been quite devout in the late nineteenth century, judging by the number of churches constructed in that period. This church was completed in 1877, and the following photo dates from the 1880s.

(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #21972)

The State Government's EPA site, noting that Stanley designed the church, also records: "Although he was employed as Colonial Architect at the time, the Holy Trinity church was one of his many private projects." It might be assumed that there were not many architects in the colony at the time, so work would have been quite plentiful. The church, described as "a mid - Victorian interpretation of Early English Gothic architecture", still graces our presence today, and here it is.(Photo: © 2009 the foto fanatic)

The Holy Trinity parish was established in 1856, splitting off from the parish of St John's in town. Residents of Fortitude Valley used to walk into Brisbane to attend church at St John's, a difficult feat on uneven and swampy tracks. As the growth in Fortitude Valley became apparent, the Anglican Church initially rented a cottage on the corner of Ann and Ballow Streets, but eventually, in 1857 (prior to separation), the colony of New South Wales granted the church a tract of land between Ann and Wickham Streets at Brookes St to enable a new church to be built. This is the second church built on the site, replacing an earlier church which had become too small for the growing congregation.

Stanley also designed the rectory adjacent to the church. It was completed in 1889, and is pictured below around 1940.

(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #64176)

The rectory also is intact today - still operating in its original function too. Although conspired against by a fleet of huge trucks parked outside it and the rather large tree overhanging the building, I did manage to photograph it, and here it is.
(Photo: © 2009 the foto fanatic)

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  1. I realise that Queensland was still a colony in
    1877 when FDG Stanley saw the completion of this lovely church. But I normally think of colonial architecture as that built in Australia _before_ the reign of Queen Victoria.

    And it is not just an issue of semantics. Victorian Australians had, I believe, totally different goals from the those of Australians living in the earliest decades of colonial life in NSW and Tasmania.

    Holy Trinity Anglican Church was beautifully designed, presumably based on models Stanley had seen many times in Britain. So it doesn't even attempt to be a building that might suit Australian conditions.

    Yet the rectory, completed only a decade later, looks both beautiful AND well suited for Australian conditions. Perhaps Stanley was on a learning curve. Or perhaps he felt that he had flexibility only in the more domestic part (rectory) of the building complex.

    many thanks

  2. A rectory is the house in which the minister lives. Usually provided by the church and built nearby, it can also be called a parsonage or a manse.



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