Wednesday, June 16, 2010

St Andrew's Uniting Church, corner Creek St & Ann St

I was preparing a post on today's subject when I read this article in the Courier-Mail. It seems that Brisbane's current spate of road works has created an unholy row in Ann St outside the St Andrew's Uniting Church. If you check out the story, you'll meet the minister who called the Brisbane City Council "crap", and also get a view of the magnificent stained glass windows in the church. Here is a photograph of the exterior. The church is in one of the busiest areas of the city, diagonally across from the Ann St entrance to Central Station.
(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

The current church is actually the third iteration of this place of worship. The very first church for this originally Presbyterian parish was built on Wickham Terrace in 1864, and it was designed by Benjamin Backhouse. Here is a photo of that building, which was situated on the corner of Wickham Terrace and Creek St.(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #67835)

By 1887, the increased population of Brisbane required a larger structure, and a Mr Willoughby Powell was engaged to design a new church for Brisbane's Presbyterians. He did a fine job too - creating "an ornate early English Gothic structure of brick, prominent in early photographs of Brisbane, which featured attached buttressing terminating in pinnacles above an open parapet and a large tower in the north west corner." This is it, as photographed in 1889.(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #APO-010-0001-0024)

In a cruel twist of fate, the increasing population also required increased public transport, and it was decided to enlarge Central Station. This would require resumption of the land on which the church was built. After negotiating a compensation payment of some £20,000 from the Commissioner for Railways, the church set about finding a new home.

Land on the corner of Creek St and Ann St, not too far from the previous site, was obtained by a deed of trust from the AMP Society. Designs for a new church were sought, and George Payne from Queensland's Public Works Dept was the successful architect. Here is an early photo of his church, the parish's third, at the new site in 1915.(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #67924)
If you look at the picture closely, you will see a number of headstones - but they are not from a graveyard in the church; there was a stonemason next door to the church. The large building in the background of the photo is (I believe) the Supreme Court building, which was rather unfortunately destroyed in an arson attack in 1968. The new church attracted much favourable comment, particularly concerning its Romanesque features rather that the more familiar Gothic construction that had been heavily used for Brisbane churches. I don't know how long it was before the previous church was demolished, but here is a picture that includes both structures, apparently from around 1970.(Photo: Brisbane in Colour, R Morrison)

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Next: Art Deco in the 'burbs

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