The Story Of St Brigid's Church, Red Hill

ST BRIGIDíS PARISH

Photo of St Brigid's Church

Compiled from paragraphs & tables from both the Archdiocese History web pages and the Queensland Government's Heritage Register - see both web sites as indicated.

Back to MEETINGS Page

 

From: http://www.parishes.bne.catholic.net.au/central/History.htm

 

1882

 

Old St Brigid's Red Hill church blessed and opened on 30 December

1888

 

Old Holy Cross Church, Wooloowin, blessed and opened on 11 August.

1887

 

Boarders residence at Gregory Terrace completed.

 

 

Brisbane becomes Archdiocese; Robert Dunne becomes Archbishop.

1890

 

Holy Cross School was opened in on the corner of Chalk and Morris Streets, Wooloowin, run by the Sisters of Mercy.

1891

 

Gregory Terrace boarding school moved to Nudgee.

 

 

Archbishop's residence, Dara, demolished and a new residence built on the site. The original house had served as Archbishopís residence since the 1860s.

1892

 

A separate building for St Stephenís school is erected. (It has since been restored and is now used for the cathedral offices.)

1893

 

St Mary's Church, South Brisbane, blessed and opened on 2 July.

1906

 

The first Mater Hospital is opened in a North Quay building called 'Aubigny': a private hospital accommodating 20 beds.

1907

 

Old Sacred Heart church, Rosalie, blessed and opened on 23 June.

1910

 

The Mater Private Hospital is opened.

1911

 

Mater Public Hospital is opened.

1912

 

 Foundation stone of St Brigid's, Red Hill, laid on 5 May

 

 

James Duhig made co-adjudtor

1914

 

St Brigid's Church, Red Hill, dedicated and opened on 19 August

1915

 

St Laurence's school opened.

1917

 

Foundation stone Sacred Heart Church, Rosalie, laid on 17 June

 

 

Robert Dunne dies. James Duhig becomes Archbishop of Brisbane

 

Try:

http://www.parishes.bne.catholic.net.au/central/photos_historical.htm

 

And combined with paragraphs from: http://www.derm.qld.gov.au/heritage/index.html The Queensland Heritage Register, which is maintained by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Queensland Heritage Act 1992.

 

St Brigidís Church is significant as a characteristic part of the inner Brisbane skyline, visible from all directions. Its design by Robin S. Dods was inspired by St Ceciles Cathedral at Albi, France (More about this next month), which the parish building committee had chosen as the model for St Brigidís. It is an outstanding example, both internally and externally, of the architecture of Robin Dods, It reflects the influence of some of the design theories current in Europe during Dods's early career in Edinburgh, in particular the Arts and Crafts use of materials and the picturesque approach to landscape and siting.

 

The Church, unconventionally oriented north-south, is prominently situated high on Red Hill and is significant as a self-conscious townscape composition designed to place an acropolis-like skyline on the axis of George Street (now lost since the construction of the Brisbane Transit Centre). Also known for the impressive quality of the interior which is derived from the carefully considered combination of materials, light and scale.

 

It was built between 1912 and 1914 by prominent builder Thomas Keenan. It replaced an earlier stone structure built in 1877. As the parish had grown to be one of the largest in Brisbane, the church was built to accommodate 1000 people. The parish was largely composed of poor Irish immigrants so that the church became a focal point of the Irish Catholic cause in Queensland.

 

It is a brick fortress-like building, rectangular, with the chancel, entrance porch and its flanking buttresses semi-octagonal in shape. A single-storeyed vestry protrudes off the west side of the chancel.

 

Though derived from Albi Cathedral's idiosyncratic style, combining elements of both Romanesque and Gothic traditions, Dods's design owes much to his British Arts and Crafts background and the local climate. Many features of the building, including the high proportions, opening windows with balconies, arches, French doors, and the open chancel area, contribute to a cool environment.

 

The interior of St Brigidís is austere and simple in decoration yet grand in dimensions. The detailing and workmanship in brick, stone, wood, glass and metal are austere but refined. Notable features include the timber ceiling, light fittings, gallery, organ, altars and stained glass. However, the original silky oak and leadlight doors running the length of the nave on the east and west walls, and some other fixed glazing, have been replaced with fully glazed areas which allow excessive light into the interior at floor level.

 

The opening ceremony in 1915 was a significant occasion in the life of the Catholic community in Brisbane, attended by Archbishop Mannix of Melbourne and presided over by Archbishop Duhig of Brisbane. The construction of St Brigidís was regarded as the coming of age of Catholicism in Brisbane. For Duhig, who was to become renowned as a prolific builder of churches and schools, St Brigidís was an auspicious beginning.

 

The original plan included a tower above the chancel but this was not built for lack of funds. L J Harvey's life size statue of St Brigid above the entrance porch, holds a model of the completed church.

 

Its hilltop position, close to the city centre, makes it a Brisbane landmark.

 

St Brigidís Church is significant as an example of Archbishop Duhig's efforts to place churches in prominent positions throughout Brisbane, and as a symbol of the emerging confidence of Catholicism in Queensland which was dominated by Irish immigrants at the time.

 

VISITOR'S NOTES | WALKS & WHAT Y OU NEED | CLUB MEETINGS | RELATED SITES | COMING EVENTS |
E
VENT CALENDAR | COMMITTEES | CLUB MAGAZINE | WHERE WE WALK | FORMS | BOOKLETS