History of Holy Trinity Anglican Parish, Woolloongabba

As motorists journey inbound or outbound along the South East Freeway, by day or by night, Holy Trinity Church stands out as a dramatic sentinel radiating the light of Christ to the surrounding countryside.

The present Church of the Holy Trinity is the third church on this site and over the years has generated a wonderful record of spiritual advancement in keeping with its very special location. The church was built in 1930 and is an outstanding example of Spanish mission style applied to an ecclesiastical building.

Many well known priests have ministered here at Holy Trinity and have given a noble account of their stewardship through a vigorous and faithful ministry.

The priest and people of this parish are totally dedicated to the promoting of a complete ministry of the word and sacrament through which the lives of all people will find spiritual enrichment.

The Holy Trinity congregation of Woolloongabba first met in 1869 in the Buffalo Hotel on the corner of Ipswich Road and Hawthorne Street. The first church was built in 1870 at 70 Hawthorne Street by Mr Moss to the design of Richard Gailey. The land was donated by Reverend R Creyke for the construction of a memorial church dedicated to his son who had died in 1869. Reverend Creyke wanted the memorial to be built on one of the seven hills of Brisbane. This church was destroyed in a gale in 1874 and a new timber church was opened by Archdeacon Glennie on Trinity Sunday 1875.

During the term of the Reverend D Ruddock, the first rector of Holy Trinity, who served from 1888-99, the rectory and parish hall were added alongside the church. The hall, designed by J H Burley, was completed in 1889 and was first used as a school. In the 1920s the hall was extended. The rectory was constructed in 1890-91 to the designs of J H Buckeridge and has since been demolished.

On 11 December 1929 the second Holy Trinity Church was destroyed by fire and services were held in the Parish Hall. Architects Messrs Chamber and Ford had been responsible for many Anglican churches in Brisbane, including St Margaret's at Sandgate, and were commissioned to design the new church. The tender of H J Davies for 7,805 pounds was accepted in 1930 and on 2 March 1930 the foundation stone was laid by Archbishop Gerald Sharp.

The church design incorporated a Lady Chapel erected in memory of Mr and Mrs Thomas Weedon. Thomas Weedon had been instrumental in establishing the church and was a lay preacher for twenty years until his death in 1896. Both the Weedons had been active congregation members and church benefactors. The church was partially financed by the sale of a property in Merton Road, bequeathed to the church by Mrs Weedon who was affectionately known as Mother of the Parish.

Much of the interior was donated by other parishioners who had given money for the church's construction. The plaster work was carried out by James Bain and Son, the glazing by Decorative Art Company and the leadlights by Extons. The organ was purchased by Whitehouse Bros. The gardens, lawn and gravel path were laid out by H Stokes. The building, including the organ, was completed at a cost of £9,800 pounds.

The opening service of the new Holy Trinity Church was held on 4 October 1930. A procession, led by the Bishop, completed two full circuits of the edifice before proceeding to the main entrance. The bishop then dedicated the church. During his sermon, Conon David Garland (a former rector of the Holy Trinity Church) paid tribute to the parish and the church:

No other church in Brisbane was so conspicuous on the landscape as this new building, and probably none was so conspicuous for the self denial which had made possible its erection.

The rector, Reverend R C Massey, echoed this latter sentiment. The church had been built at a cost of nearly £10,000 and the fact that only £250 remained unpaid was a magnificent tribute to the generosity of the congregation, who were mostly wage earners. This achievement was remarkable as the church was erected during economic depression, a problem compounded by the decline of the Woolloongabba area as a commercial and maritime centre in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The church news commented that the church, through this construction, should rejoice in providing employment at a time when it is badly wanted.

Since the third church was constructed, new additions have included a columbarium (a building containing niches used to house cinerary urns). This was consecrated in 1938 by Bishop Dixon. According to The Telegraph, the columbarium was probably the first associated with any church in Australia. In 1946 a free standing bell tower was built in the church grounds as a memorial to service personnel who served in World War Two. Additional commemorative stained glass windows have also been added to the church.

About 1950 the old rectory was demolished as it had been damaged by fire and the adjoining house, owned by the estate of Miss Sawyer, was purchased as the new rectory.

Together with the Church Hall, Rectory and bell tower, the Holy Trinity Church forms an ecclesiastical precinct.