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St George's Anglican Church

  • 600001
  • Main Street, Beenleigh

General

Also known as
St Georges Anglican Church
Classification
State Heritage
Register status
Entered
Date entered
21 October 1992
Type
Religion/worship: Church
Theme
8.1 Creating social and cultural institutions: Worshipping and religious institutions
Architect
Stanley, Francis Drummond Greville
Construction period
1876, St George's Anglican Church
Historical period
1870s–1890s Late 19th century

Location

Address
Main Street, Beenleigh
LGA
Logan City Council
Coordinates
-27.72305886, 153.21305141

Map

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Significance

Criterion AThe place is important in demonstrating the evolution or pattern of Queensland’s history.

St George’s Anglican Church (1875) is important in demonstrating the development of Beenleigh as a regional centre in the mid-19th century.

The first church erected in Beenleigh (relocated 1981), it is important in demonstrating the development of the Anglican Church in Queensland in the mid-19th century.

Criterion EThe place is important because of its aesthetic significance.

St George's Anglican Church, an early ecclesiastical work of prominent architect FDG Stanley, is a fine example of a single-skin timber church with exposed stud framing and cross bracing, demonstrating the decorative possibilities of this type of construction.

History

St George’s Anglican Church, Beenleigh was built in 1875 for the local congregation. Designed by prominent architect Francis Drummond Greville (FDG) Stanley, the single storey timber church is of single skin construction, with exposed stud framing and decorative cross bracing.[1] In 1981 the church was relocated from nearby Tansey Street to its current location at the Beenleigh Historical Village.

In 1826 the Moreton Bay penal colony commandant Captain Patrick Logan began to explore the area of what is now Beenleigh and concentrated mainly around the Logan and Albert rivers.[2] Later timber getters moved into the area in search of cedar and hardwoods in the 1840s but it wasn’t until 1864 that the first European settlers took up land under the Sugar and Coffee regulations.[3] This was a government scheme designed to encourage the growing of these crops which could prove lucrative if the crops could be grown successfully. Sugar cane had been introduced at the onset of European settlement in the late 18th century in places such as Sydney, Port Macquarie and Norfolk Island but commercial viability was limited due to the crops failure to thrive in these areas.[4]

Following the success of Captain Louis Hope’s planted sugar crop in 1862, the population of the Beenleigh area grew and 39 leases were granted in the first few months of the scheme’s operation.[5] The emerging settlement of Beenleigh received its name after the home in England of prominent local plantation owners Francis Gooding and John Davy, whose sugar plantation was providing the necessary ingredients to the local production of rum. This commodity was encouraged by the government, as it received revenue from taxes, was easier to transport compared to beer or wine and was popular amongst the growing population of the district. With these new industries bringing employment, the population of the area was further expanded with the recent of migration of many German settlers, which were later to develop into the communities of Beenleigh, Bethania and Logan.

In 1859 the state of Queensland separated from the state of New South Wales. Brisbane became the new seat of the Anglican Diocese, with its first Bishop being Edward Wyndham Tufnell.[6]

 The following year state funds to support the Anglican Church ceased, putting financial pressure on local church leaders unaccustomed to the processes of self-funding.[7] Due to the increasing spiritual needs of the now enlarged Beenleigh settlement, a committee was formed to provide the impetus needed for a dedicated structure devoted to a place worship. In 1872 a committee was formed to begin the process of erecting the new Anglican Church, with Rev. D. Desbois as chairman.[8] Tenders however could not be called until three quarters of the subscriptions required to build the church were actually payed for.[9] The acre of land that the church was to be constructed upon was donated by a local community member, Michael Tansey.[10]

The design for the Gothic-style timber church was provided by prominent Queensland architect FDG Stanley. FDG Stanley was responsible for the design of many Queensland church buildings for different denominations including St Patrick's Church [601503], Gympie; St Paul's Presbyterian Church [600310], Spring Hill; as well as smaller examples like St David's Anglican Church [602061] in Allora. Although never officially appointed as a Diocesan architect, Stanley designed many Anglican churches in the 1870s and 1880s. St George’s Anglican Church is among Stanley’s earliest surviving Queensland ecclesiastical designs. [11]

Stanley’s design featured the distinctive external framed ‘single-skin’ construction technique that evolved in Queensland from the mid-1860s. In this period, architects RG Suter, working for the Board of General Education in Brisbane and RHO Roehricht, as chief draftsman for the Great Northern Railway at Rockhampton, were exploring similar architectural ideas for what was initially called ‘outside studding’. Exposing the structural frame and the outside face of the internal lining improved the architectural expression of buildings and allowed for economic construction. Schools and churches built using this technique were a key influence in the widespread adoption of exposed frame timber construction throughout colonial Queensland.[12]

The church was constructed and completed by September 1875 by Messrs Wohlsen and Ehlers at a cost of £250 and was the first religious building erected in the Beenleigh.[13] When completed, the church was described as:

‘a substantial wooden building, with the studding outside, the sides of vertical pine boards and a roof of ironbark shingles laid on boards… The floor is of yellowwood. The Communion table, reading and preaching desks are of polished cedar and the seats of ‘Noosa pine’ [kauri].[14]

Additional costs necessary for the church building included the seats and desks made by Mr. J. Philips at £40 and a Harmonium (organ) at £40[15]. On September 23rd 1875 the first public service was held at the church. Included in the opening were 15 members from Brisbane’s St Johns choir, and Reverends DA Court , R. Creyke and J. Sutton. Rev. James Gilberton became the first priest in charge with A. Pietzcher and E. Thorne lay assistants[16]. 

From 1875 until 1957 the church became a focus point for the community, not only as a place of worship but as a social hub for the wider Beenleigh community. Over this period the church was to undergo multiple administrational changes, with control over church affairs administered by the Anglican Church Mission (1910), Parish of Beaudesert (1912) and Anglican Church Mission (1934) respectively. In 1952 the church made an appeal for funds to erect a more modern church with other funds to be allocated to the repair of the current structure.[17] From 1957 the centres of Woodridge, Slacks Creek, Kingston and Beenleigh were amalgamated in the Mission District of Beenleigh[18] which oversaw construction of the new St George’s Anglican Church next to the original building in 1964, the year Beenleigh was officially declared a parish.[19]

In 1975 the original church building was classified by the National Trust and by 1978 was included in the Australian Heritage Commission’s Register of the National Estate.[20] By this time the structure was in poor condition and the Anglican Church was considering demolishing the building. Approaches were made to the Albert Shire Council and local business people to save the church. In 1981 the council approved a request from the Beenleigh and District Historical Society for the original church building to be removed from Tansey Street to the historical village site in Main Street, Beenleigh.[21] The Beenleigh and District Historical Society have been custodians of the church building since this time.

Description

This single-skin timber church is a one storey building on low concrete stumps with steeply pitched galvanised corrugated iron gable roofs. It is now prominently located facing Main Street in the Beenleigh Historical Village.

The church is rectangular in plan with an attached chancel on the northern end. The chancel is narrower in width and has a lower roof than the nave. A gabled porch located on the western side is the only point of entry.

The walls consist of vertical jointed (VJ) boards fixed to an exposed stud frame that is decoratively patterned with cross bracing. Inclined timber members fixed above the bottom plate shed water away from the walls, protecting structural timbers. The raked soffits are lined with diagonal beaded timber boards that continue internally to form a raked ceiling.

The entry and front facade gable are decorated with curved and diagonal timber members. Four timber steps lead to the timber entry porch. Arched double doors constructed of diagonal timber boards open directly from the porch onto the main space of the church. This space is interrupted only by a screen enclosure in the south west corner. The chancel has a raised timber floor and is framed by a chancel arch.

The rafters are exposed below the diagonally boarded ceiling. Trusses are formed where timber tie beams are attached to the underside of four of the rafters and connected back to the walls by curved timber braces.

Tall slender casement windows are arranged in groups of three in the end walls and singularly in the side walls. A replica of the original timber bell tower is located in front of the church.

The external painted turquoise colour applied to the exposed stud framing and cross bracing does not reflect an earlier scheme and is not of cultural heritage significance.

References

[1] ‘Moves to be made to save old Church’, The Albert News, 1 Feb 1978, (np).
[2] Beenleigh Rum Distillery, QHR602470.
[3] Beenleigh Rum Distillery, QHR602470.
[4] Beenleigh Rum Distillery, QHR602470.
[5] Beenleigh Rum Distillery, QHR602470.
[6] St Thomas' Church of England, QHR600336.
[7] St Thomas' Church of England, QHR600336.
[8] ‘Church Building in Beenleigh’, The Brisbane Courier, 16 Nov 1872, p.5.
[9] ‘Church Building in Beenleigh’, The Brisbane Courier, 16 Nov 1872, p.5.
[10] The Brisbane Courier, 25 September 1875, p.6.
[11] Department of Architecture, University of Queensland 1998, Church Register: An inventory of parish Churches within the Diocese of Brisbane 1847 to 1903, A Conservation Study prepared for The Diocese of Brisbane Anglican Church of Australia, (n.p); see Donald Watson and Judith McKay, 1994, Queensland Architects of the 19th Century, Queensland Museum, Brisbane, pp.166-179 for list of identified works by FDG Stanley.
[12] Donald Watson, 2012, ‘A House of Sticks: A History of Queenslander Houses in Maryborough’, Queensland Review, Vol.19, June 2012, p.52.
[13] ‘Beenleigh’, The Brisbane Courier, 25 Sep 1875, p.6.
[14] ‘Beenleigh’, The Brisbane Courier, 25 Sep 1875, p.6.
[15] ‘Beenleigh’, The Brisbane Courier, 25 Sep 1875, p.6.
[16] ‘Archbishop Ordains Beenleigh’s Deacon’, The Albert Times, 20 Oct 1982.
[17] ‘Beenleigh Church of England’, South Coast Bulletin, 30 Jan 1952, p.14.
[18] ‘District Church of England History’, Beenleigh Express, 21 Nov 1957.
[19] Queensland Heritage Register, 600001 St George's Anglican Church.
[20] ‘Moves to be made to save old Church’, The Albert News, 1 Feb 1978.
[21] ‘New life to old church’, Albert and Logan News, 11 February 1981, p.12.

Image gallery

Location

Location of St George's Anglican Church within Queensland
Licence
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Last updated
20 January 2016
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