Heritage and Architecture
Saint Andrew’s is a congregation within the Uniting Church in Australia (UCA). The UCA was inaugurated in 1977 when Methodist, most Congregational and some Presbyterian churches in Australia united. As an immediate result, in the City of Brisbane, there were three UCA churches in Ann Street. In 1981, two of them – Ann Street City (formerly Congregational) and St Andrew’s (formerly Presbyterian) amalgamated to form St Andrew’s Uniting Church. These two large city congregations began in 1859 and 1862, respectively, so their stories are connected with the growth of Brisbane since colonial days.
Valuing Our Heritage
For over a century and a half, St Andrew’s and its predecessors have built a rich history. More detail of the activities, characteristics and achievements of these city congregations is available in a history book published in 2005 to mark the centenary of the building of St Andrew’s.
It was written by Noel Adsett and is entitled Valuing Our Heritage – The Story of St Andrew’s Uniting Church, Brisbane.
It is now only $5 from the church office.
The Old Wickham Terrace Church
St Andrew’s was built in 1904 to replace a prominent Gothic style stone structure in Wickham Terrace to enable the extension of the railway line from Central Station to Fortitude Valley by tunnel. As it happened, this beautiful church which had been used by the Presbyterians for 17 years before they moved to the present site, was also occupied by the Congregationalists for another 17 years before they moved to their Ann Street site in 1959. The building was demolished in about 1970.
Stained Glass Windows
The stained glass windows in St Andrew’s Uniting Church, Brisbane are in good condition and form a beautiful and interesting collection.
The church as it was originally designed by the architect, George Payne, was to have its windows glazed in pastel coloured leadlights. Some of these remain as seen in the Merrington Peace Chapel and St Andrew’s Hall beneath the church. Others have been replaced by stained glass. The first were the beautiful series in the north wall depicting the Nativity, Crucifixion and Ascension of Jesus and later the windows in the nave and Rees-Thomas Mission Chapel were mostly crafted by R S Exton & Co and designed by William Bustard.
William Bustard (1884 – 1973) was a Brisbane-based designer, and one of Australia’s leading traditional stained glass artists in the years before and after the Second World War. He was born in Yorkshire and studied art before joining White Friars Studio (James Powel & Sons) where he was trained as a stained glass designer/artist. He served in World War 1 and returned to White Friars before coming to Australia in 1921. In the period before the Second World War, he designed windows for Extons in Brisbane, a leading stained glass firm from the 1880s until the 1950s.
The Edward Griffith Room
The Edward Griffith Room was dedicated in 2006 to house the archival collections held at St Andrew’s Uniting Church. Its name honours the Revd Edward Griffith whose ministry at Wharf Street Congregational (Independent) Church from 1860 to 1889 was long and distinguished. Members were added, the chapel was enlarged and several churches were formed around Brisbane. His influence was significant in the wider community especially in social, political and benevolent movements. He worked in the causes of free education, hospitals and temperance societies. He was noted for his punctuality and shrewdness, his knowledge of the leaders of the city and his adhesion to principle. One of his sons became Sir Samuel Griffith, Premier of Queensland and first High Court Judge in Australia. Edward Griffith died in 1891.
The material stored and catalogued in the Edward Griffith Room refers chiefly to the history of St Andrew’s Presbyterian and Uniting Churches and its predecessors – Wharf Street and City Congregational Churches and Wickham Terrace Presbyterian Church. The collections also include historical material referring to other Congregational Churches in Queensland, the Presbyterian denomination in Queensland and Congregational history and practice.
Many objects have been donated or collected. They include badges, moderators’ scarves, a Geneva gown, baptismal records on cloth wall hangings, church crockery, medals and other memorabilia. All are stored in the Edward Griffith Room. From time to time, these articles are displayed in the Vera Wade Gallery, usually in connection with an exhibition with a theme.
Sound recordings of sermons preached at St Andrew’s since the 1970s are held. CDs and DVDs feature church choirs, pipe organ music and other musical performances. A series of talks in 1992 entitled Education for Living has been taped. Other celebratory services and addresses are held including the funeral service of Prime Minister Robert Gordon Menzies conducted by Rev Fred McKay.
The Dewey system of classification is used to catalogue the book collection on shelves in the Edward Griffith Room. The biggest sections are Church History, Biblical Commentary and Theology. Some of the books were restored. Year Books and Annual Reports are bound.
Authors of some of the books are or were members of the St Andrew’s Congregation.
The catalogue for the large collection of old and more recent photographs shows for each picture – title, date taken and place. Usually brief notes are added. The photographs are of historical interest and illustrate the life and mission of the present congregation and its predecessors.
PAPER DOCUMENTS, MINUTES
The catalogues for these collections record a wide variety of paper-based material of historical value. Included are minute books, correspondence, orders of services, concerts, occasional addresses and annual reports and year books. Some sets of booklets have been bound. Others are in labelled archive boxes.
Communion tokens were used by churches in Scotland. They were distributed to members of the congregation prior to the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. The tokens are most commonly made of lead and bear the name of the church, year of manufacture and often the name of the Minister. Some of the tokens are displayed in the church while others are stored in the Edward Griffith Room.
MEMORIALS AND PLAQUES
The catalogue of memorial gifts and plaques is available in the Committee Room at the Ann Street level. Each entry records a photograph of the memorial and comments on its origin or history. Memorial gifts include plaques, stained glass windows, furnishings, photographs and framed works of art.
The book Valuing Our Heritage – The Story of St Andrew’s Uniting Church Brisbane by Noel Adsett was published in 2005 by CopyRight Publications, Brisbane. The book can be purchased at the church office for $5. It is also available for reference purposes in the State Library of Queensland, Australian National Library, Trinity Theological College Library and United Theological College Library, Parramatta.
Several series of devotional books for Advent were printed. Daily reflections were contributed by members of the congregation.
Booklets containing stories of the men and women whose names are listed on the Honour Boards are being written and published. This series is called “Stories from the Honour Boards”.
Merrington Anzac Memorial Peace Chapel
During World War 1 when the Revd Dr Ernest Merrington was the Minister at St Andrew’s, he also served as a Chaplain with AIF troops at Egypt, Gallipoli and Europe. A transept within the building honours him and all who have taken part in conflicts since. The names of 268 men and women are listed on honour boards and plaques in the chapel. A wall photograph depicts Dr Merrington conducting a service with the troops at Gallipoli and the communion vessels he used are displayed below it. Anzac Day services and other services of remembrance are conducted in this chapel.
To learn more and read about individual stories of those on the honour boards, please go to Lives, Links and Legacy.
You can also listen to Noel Adsett, Chairman of the Heritage Committee of the Church Council of St Andrews share the many stories contained with a special space with Brisbane's Living Heritage Network here.
The building and its contents are of much interest to the general public.
Talks are willingly arranged for student groups.
The rich store of archived material can be used for research purposes by historians, architects and others.
Useful information is available for people interested in the early history of the Presbyterian, Congregational and Uniting Churches in Brisbane.
Records include biographical notes and records of significant events and celebrations.
Photographers are welcome.
Rees-Thomas Mission Chapel
The Revd Dr Tom Rees-Thomas was the Minister of the City
Congregational Church (later Ann Street City Uniting Church)
from 1948 till it closed in 1981 to join Saint Andrew’s. Dr
Rees-Thomas came with his Congregation and served as a
Minister-in-Association at St Andrew’s till his death in 1993.
The chapel honours his long and faithful ministry in Brisbane
where he was well-known as a public figure, advocate for those less fortunate and supporter of missionary work at home and abroad. The communion table and chairs in the chapel, memorial gifts from the Ann Street City Church, are now used weekly during our services.
As part of the celebration of our building’s centenary in 2005, members and groups within the Congregation were invited to contribute a square, decorated in whatever way they chose, to represent their connection with the life and work of St Andrew’s. This attractive quilt is now an interesting feature on the wall inside the church building.
Baptismal Font from the former City Congregational Church
Dedicated by Rev Percival Watson, BA on Mothers’ Day, 13 May 1928.
A gift of the Mothers’ Union.
Text: He shall gather lambs with his arm and carry them in his bosom. Isaiah 40: 11.
The font was unveiled by Mrs GF Scott (Grandmother of Kenneth Scott)
and Mrs AJ Raymond (mother of Archy Raymond).
The names of Archy Raymond and Kenneth Scott are on the honour boards.
They were both killed.
Designed and crafted by Arch H West, L Mus TCL (Organist and choirmaster)
The photographs of all the Ministers since 1858 are displayed in the Committee Room adjacent to the foyer. It is interesting to read the captions which show their years of ministry and the churches they served. They number 24 – Congregational (10), Presbyterian (10) and UCA (4).
A row of bricks is called a course.
Bricks laid flat with the width parallel to the wall are called stretchers.
Bricks laid flat with the width parallel to the wall are called headers.
Three courses of stretchers followed by one course of headers.
Alternate stretcher and header courses.
Alternate stretchers and headers in each course.