Ann Street Presbyterian Church, Brisbane, Qld, Australia

Margaret  Hyde

Ulverstone, Australia

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Artist's Description

1485 viewings on 3 July, 2016.

Dedicated to my parents, Eunice and Malcolm, who showed me by example how to have a wonderful marriage.

This church has great significance for me as my parents were married in it in 1941.

This church, has some claim to being considered the oldest surviving church building in continuous use in Queensland. Only the Mary Mackillop Chapel in the grounds of St Stephen’s Cathedral is known to be older.

The foundation stone of the churtch was laid on the 12 December, 1857 and a little over six months later construction was complete and on the evening of 25 July 1858, the church was open for worship by the resident minister Rev. Charles Ogg.
The architect and builder was John Jeays of Brisbane.
The structure originally consisted only of the stone walls of what is now the nave of the building with a shingled roof surmounted at the front by a substantial bell tower. The roof was partly destroyed by fire and replaced in 1871 or 72, but the structure remained substantially in its original form until the end of the 19th century. Then in 1897 the present transcept, incorporating choir stalls, high pulpit and in 1902, the impressive Richardson pipe organ was added during the ministry of Rev Dr W S Frackleton, an American born and educated Presbyterian minister who had previously preached in Iowa, New York,, Ireland and Sydney. At about the same time the interior and exterior walls of the church were plastered with cement render and painted white, and the whole edifice was roofed with corrugated iron sheeting over the present high varnished hoop pine timber ceiling . With the added weight, the walls were then seen to be bowing outwards. Exterior corner buttresses were added to maintain the stability of the structure and on architectural advice the bell tower was removed to reduce the weight load from above.

The church presents a number of architectural features traditionally associated with the Presbyterian faith. They include the pointed double entry doors and characteristic triple-tiered trancept, rising through the Elder’s Court with its high-backed chairs and communion table, to the right of the pulpit centrally placed to emphasise preaching of the Word of God fundamental to Reformed church belief. The absence of a central aisle follows a tradition begun in Lutheran churches after formal processions ceased to be a feature of divine services and is designed to stress the community dimension of Reformed church congregations.Early Presbyterian marriages were celebrated not in the church itself but in the adjoining manse, where Helen Mitchell, or Dame Nellie Melba as she came to be known ,was married at Ann Street in 1882.

Described by “The Courier” newspaper in 1858 as “Gothic” in style the church and especially the interior are fine examples of the 19th century colonial architecture.

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Artwork Comments

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