Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Ann St Presbyterian Church

Here we have one of the oldest buildings in Brisbane - a church designed by Joshua Jeays and built in 1858. The Ann St Presbyterian Church stands right next door to King George Square and Brisbane City Hall. The first Presbyterian church in Brisbane had been opened by Rev Thomas Mowbray at Grey St South Brisbane in 1851, but it no longer exists. Initially the minister would row across the river to conduct services on the north side, but eventually the church split the congregation and built this church for the northerners.

In December 1871 the church was substantially damaged by a fire, but it was rebuilt the following year. Architect and Presbyterian Alex B Wilson designed some improvements to the church in 1897, and the church was further enlarged in size over several years to 1914.

In 1936, a two-storey extension was designed by DFW Roberts for the purposes of providing a hall and office space for the Presbyterian Church in Queensland. Here is a photograph of the two buildings, date unknown.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #108291)

During an expansionary phases in the sixties, Brisbane City Council wanted to buy the property to add to King George Square, but community pressure saw that threat off.

We haven't been so lucky lately however. The church is heritage listed, but the adjoining hall and offices has been sacrificed for a new steel and glass tower, albeit the church hall and offices will be located there. The little church building is now almost surrounded by these soulless monstrosities. Here is a recent photograph of the front of the church with its symmetrical double-door entry and vertical stained glass windows topped by a rose window.
(Photo: © 2012 the foto fanatic)

The church's web pages say that it can accommodate up to 300 worshippers, so the interior is larger than this view of the building would suggest. The church boasts that Dame Nellie Melba was married here in 1882, not in the church but in the adjoining manse.

Click here for a Google Map.

tff

5 comments:

  1. Yes indeed... the little church building is now surrounded by, and almost lost in those soulless monstrosities. Have a look at the WW1 memorial in Sydney :( It also breaks my heart.

    http://tinyurl.com/7699crk

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  2. It may sound stupid but I didn't even realise the little church was there till December when I was in the CBD doing some Christmas shopping. I don't know what made me notice it, or why I hadn't noticed it before but it's definitely swamped by the surrounding buildings.

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  3. How appropriate is the term 'soulless monstrosities'! Thank you for another excellent post :-)

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  4. Yes, unfortunately I had to watch and listen as the congregation voted unanimously to get rid of the hall in July 2007. When the economy started to collapse in 2008, it looked as if the construction wasn't going to go ahead, but by February 2010 the hall was gone. I always thought that the hall should have been heritage listed but nobody else seemed to agree with me at the time. At least we still have the church - hopefully they can never touch that....

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