Wednesday, October 14, 2009

St Brigid's, Red Hill

Before moving to apartment living at Teneriffe, we lived in Brisbane's western suburbs for years. During that time, I would drive out of the city after work each afternoon, and head west for the trip home. Just after the Normanby Fiveways, I would pass this magnificent Gothic structure. It is St Brigid's Catholic Church, built in a very prominent position on Musgrave Rd at Red Hill. Click the photo to see a larger image - look for the statue of St Brigid in the central gable on the top of the church.
(Photo: © 2009 the foto fanatic)

I've never had cause to go to this church, so I made it my business recently to find out a bit more about it. It seems that this structure wasn't the first catholic church on the site - a previous building had been erected in 1877, and is pictured here from around 1910.

(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #7917)

But the increase in parishioners in those inner-city suburbs around Milton and Paddington meant that a larger church was needed, so in 1912, work commenced on a new church designed by Robin Dods of Hall & Dods. Archbishop Duhig wanted a grand structure, and he got it. Modelling it on a cathedral in Albi, France, Dods made it large enough to seat 1000 worshippers. It is certainly imposing, and its position on a ridge makes it visible from many parts of the city. I would love to know how many red bricks were used!

(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #18854)

St Brigid's was opened by Archbishop Duhig on 9 August 1914, in a large dedication ceremony that was also attended by Archbishop Mannix from Melbourne. The photo above records the scene from that day.

Click here for a Google Map.


Next: Toowoomba boy makes good


  1. Hello!

    Just wanted to thank you for having such a wonderful blog! I'm a Qld girl living overseas at the moment (& missing home!). I love Brisbane so much & find it fascinating to pour over the history of where myself, my parents and grandparents grew up.

    Thanks again, and keep up the good work!

  2. Hi Elisha
    Thanks for taking the time to comment - it means a lot to hear that the blog is being enjoyed.

  3. G'day
    As an Aussie living in the United States, I was surfing the net for a business contact when I came a Catholic School in the U.S. called St Brigit’s which brought back so many happy and sad time as a young man attending St Brigit’s in Brisbane.

    I have to admit that St Brigit’s and the Nuns, especially Sister Philomena. She was a woman of strong conviction and great compassion. She took me under her wing almost from my first day in school after transferring from another school to St Bridget’s.

    She had recognized from my first day that I had a learning disability or as we know it today as Dyslexia which is a learning disability that impairs a person's ability to read, spell and which can manifest itself as a difficulty with phonological awareness.

    I would dearly love to know if there is any way I could assess past school/class photos and if there is a list of names of class students by years and class.

    Regards to all from St Brigit’s

  4. I am researching my Power family tree and I thing my Dad Thomas Power attended school at Saint Brigids in the 1920s and was Alter Boy at the Church.
    I am wanting would there be any School records from that time. I know from my dads stories that the Power boys were a handful for the sisters.
    Hope you can help

    Denise Borrell


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