Friday, August 12, 2011

St Brigid's Convent, Red Hill

In 1877, the first St Brigid's Church was built at Red Hill. A few years later, the Sisters of Mercy established a school there, and they made the daily trek from All Hallows' in the Valley to the church to teach the students. In 1902 the Sisters of Mercy purchased, in Upper Clifton Terrace near the church, land that included a residence known as "Kenilworth". The purchase price was £1610, and the Sisters intended to construct a convent there.

Architects Eaton and Bates were commissioned to construct the convent, and work commenced in mid-1902 and was completed the following year. Records show that the construction cost was
£3100, and a further £500 was needed for furnishing the building. This is the result, as photographed in 2000.
(Photo: DERM)

Eaton and Bates had quite a successful practice, including many works for the Catholic church. As evidenced by this building, they favoured wide verandahs, important for fighting the hot Queensland sun.

The convent evidently housed up to eight or nine Sisters of Mercy at any one time. The school closed in the mid-1980s, and nuns remained in residence at the convent until the building was sold in 1999.
(Photo: © 2011 the foto fanatic)

I'm not sure how the building is being used today - in fact, it looked as though it may have been vacant when I took the current photo above. The well-positioned block and nearness to the city are apparent. The web pages of conservation architect Robert Riddel (who has also worked on St Brigid's Church) indicate that conservation work and improvements were performed for the new owners after the sale by the church.

It would be a superb family home.

Click here for a Google Map.



  1. I remember going past this house when I was a little girl and asking my mum about it and she would say, 'That's where the nuns live'. I'd forgotten that until reading your post. Thanks for the memories.

  2. It's a striking building, isn't it?

    I'm not surprised that you remember it.

  3. You wrote that the Sisters of Mercy purchased land that included a residence known as Kenilworth. Does that mean that the architects simply took a typical, delightful Queensland house and added the religious section that can be seen from the front - crosses, gothic windows, lancets, sculpture alcove?

    I am not so interested in changes made to the inside of the house ... only what we can see from the outside.

  4. Eaton & Bates designed a new convent building. Kenilworth was demolished and the convent built in its place.

  5. Wow alot has changed from when I attended school back in 1981,only did my first 4 years at St Bridgade's then moved to Scared Heart Primary School at Rosalie,in the middle of Paddington & Bardon.


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