Elsewhere in these pages I have pondered on the future of church buildings in the light of falling attendances and the trend towards secular lifestyles. Although the reasons for deconsecrating churches might be different in these times, the act of getting rid of these buildings is not new. Take, for example, this building situated right in the middle of Brisbane's CBD. It is now a 24/7 restaurant known as Pancake Manor, but it was formerly an Anglican church.(Photo: © 2011 the foto fanatic)
JS Murdoch, who had collaborated with RS Dods on Webber House (also for the Anglican community), designed this Romanesque Revival-style church and it was constructed in 1904. The building with its steep roof is in the foreground of this photograph of Brisbane from 1924.(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #APE-065-01-0020)
In fact, this building had several concurrent lives as a church. Not only was it purpose-built as a mission church to provide support for the poor and homeless, it also acted as the Anglican Cathedral between the demolition in 1904 of St John's Pro Cathedral in Queens Park and the opening of St John's Cathedral in Ann St in 1910. Additionally it was also used as the place of worship for the members of Brisbane's Greek Orthodox community until their own church was completed. The following image from around 1926 shows Greek Orthodox worshippers outside St Luke's. (Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #62015)
The Greek community eventually built their own church in Charlotte St. It was completed in 1929, and must have been a beautiful building. It no longer exists, and the Greek Orthodox congregation has moved across the river to South Brisbane, but this is what their Charlotte St church looked like in 1955.(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #202766)
St Luke's was also very involved in the community during war time, providing a venue for dances and Sunday teas for soldiers. It remained an active church until 1977 when it was no longer needed by the Anglicans, and in 1979 it was converted to a restaurant.
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