In my previous musings here, I have wondered about the vast property holdings of some religious organisations. The Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Church are two that spring readily to mind, but there may well be others too. The Catholics and Anglicans have amassed huge portfolios of property over time, and in this era of reducing religious attendance at churches, I have asked whether these holdings are still relevant. Not that it has anything to do with me, since I am not part of either community, but that doesn't stop me from having an opinion! And I hasten to add, I come from a position of curiosity, not mean-spirited envy.
Well, it appears that similar questions have been asked internally within these organisations, and indeed I would be surprised if they had not. But it appears that change is afoot. The home of the Anglican Archbishop in Brisbane has traditionally been known as Bishopsbourne. The original Bishopsbourne was situated in the inner-city suburb of Milton, and for years it has been known as Old Bishopsbourne. In 1964 the Anglican primate of Brisbane was moved a to new Bishopsbourne, a huge (the land area is 5600 sq metres!) property that overlooks the Brisbane River at Hamilton that had been known as Eldernell, and Farsley prior to that. The house was designed by James Cowlishaw and built in 1869 for William Hemmant, a well-known Brisbane draper and politician. Prior to its purchase by the Anglican church, the residence was home to some of Brisbane's most prominent citizens: Judge CS Mein, as well as businessmen and philanthropists GH Gray of Castlemaine Perkins and Edwin Tooth of Austral Motors. Here are a couple of photographs from around 1915.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #110112)
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #110105)
In April 2007, this property was sold to Brisbane businessman John George for a then record $11.2 million. The current archbishop, Dr Phillip Aspinall has moved to Bishopsbourne III, situated in the neighbouring suburb of Ascot - it only cost $2.6 million. The Australian, our national broadsheet newspaper, reported that the proceeds of the changeover (more than $8 million) would be spent by the Anglicans on new schools, chaplaincies and community services. Hooray for them, I say.(Photo: www.boostcruising.com)
(Photo: couriermail.com.au; 26 March 2007)
This is the former Bishopsbourne II now - I haven't heard whether the house has been renamed by its new owner.
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