Heritage & 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.
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.
HISTORY BOOK PUBLISHED IN 2005
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 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.
- Archived collections are housed in the Edward Griffith Room adjacent to St Andrew’s Hall on the lower level of the building. These include audio-visual recordings, paper documents such as minutes of meetings and correspondence, books, photographs, art works and artefacts.
- A collection of communion tokens, displayed in a glass cabinet, is situated in the church for public viewing.
- Memorials and plaques throughout the building can be viewed on weekdays when the church is open from 11 am to 2 pm and Voluntary Guides are willing to give more information.
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.
REES-THOMAS PEACE 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 at the 8am service in the Rees-Thomas Mission Chapel.
- 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.
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).
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.
- 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”.