The first Baptist church in Sandgate, a Brisbane bayside suburb, was built in Louden St in 1872. Subsequently, a parishioner donated a block of land for a new church - that block was situated at the shore, on The Esplanade. The new church was built to a design of the prominent architect (and staunch Baptist), Richard Gailey, who frequently donated his services for the construction of churches. This is our third Gailey design for the week, and the disparate trio shows us his versatility. The new Sandgate chapel opened and held its first service on Christmas Day in 1877. It is pictured below shortly thereafter, showing its nearness to the waters of Moreton Bay. Bathers and bathing sheds can be seen in the photo too.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #13198)
The church was fairly substantial, built to accommodate up to 350 Sandgate residents and holidaymakers. It cost £1300 to build, and was topped with a tall spire that needed to be erected by a specialist steeplejack. Because of its size, it was also used as a community meeting hall, and the local Freemasons also used it for their lodge meetings for almost 30 years.
(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)
The fine building still stands, and although it is no longer a church, it still serves the community as a childcare centre. The Esplanade is now called Flinders Parade; the bathing huts are no more; but the area is still a haven for relaxation. The building is in terrific order (click the picture to see a larger image), and it is a tribute to Richard Gailey and the early Baptists of Sandgate.
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Next: Hall's hall