Parish History 1888–1968: Chapter 1

For the full table of contents and a PDF of the booklet, which includes photos, see the Parish History 1888–1968.

The Early Days

On the 10th of December 1859 the country known as New South Wales was divided, and the Northern part, from what was called Moreton Bay Settlement to Cape York, became a self governing Colony with the name of Queensland given by Queen Victoria, and with Brisbane Town as its seat of government.

This necessitated the formation of a new Diocese and the appointment of a Bishop. Accordingly the Reverend Edward Wyndham Tufnell was consecrated in London as the first Bishop of Brisbane.

He did not arrive here until September 1860 and with him came six young Clergymen from the Diocese of Salisbury, one of whom — the Reverend Thomas Jones — was destined to play an important role in the history of the Diocese and particularly of this parish, where he was Rector for twenty four years from 1894 to 1918.

During the 1860’s he frequently rode out on horseback from Brisbane Town to minister to early settlers in the district of Indooroopilly — then very much in the bush.

In 1870 the Parish of Toowong was formed, and Indooroopilly, Taringa, Chelmer and perhaps the more remote areas of Fig Tree Pocket, Moggill, and Brookfield were part of it. There were settlers in the last three named areas, for the Moggill School was opened in 1866 and both Brookfield and Fig Tree Pocket schools in 1871 — the last named with 32 pupils.

The first incumbent of Toowong, the Reverend Robert Creyke, ministered to the spiritual needs of the few residents in these remote areas of this large parish.

There were few houses here at that time, and it was not until 1873 that the Railway was extended from Ipswich to Oxley Point — now known as Chelmer. At the same time a line was built from Brisbane to the northern bank of the river at Indooroopilly, and in 1876 the first railway bridge across the Brisbane river was opened for traffic — thus connecting Brisbane with Ipswich.

It is interesting to note that the first bridge across the Brisbane River was built in 1865 to connect North Brisbane with South Brisbane. This was only a temporary structure, the first permanent bridge being built in 1874 as a toll bridge. The toll however was abolished in August 1877. This bridge and the old railway bridge at Indooroopilly were swept away by the 1893 flood. The Railway bridge was soon replaced by the present Albert Bridge and the one connecting the two portions of the town by the Victoria Bridge which is to be demolished when the new Victoria Bridge is opened in 1969.

An interesting paragraph appeared in “The First Half Century of the Queensland Railways” published in 1914: —

“The first train carrying railway passengers from Brisbane started at 6.30 a.m. on the 14th of June 1875. The line was not quite finished, there remaining plenty of ballasting to do. Everything was makeshift . . . the bridge over the Brisbane River, which was to supply the missing link was unfinished, and passengers, goods, etc. were conveyed across the river in a punt.”

For many years after this the punt was used to carry cars and other vehicles across the river until the present Walter Taylor Bridge was opened for vehicular traffic on the 14th February, 1936.

With the coming of the railway the districts along the line advanced and more people began to settle in Indooroopilly, as well as on the other side of the river; but it was not until the early 1880’s that anything is heard of regular Church of England Services being held in the district.

The first records show that the Rector of Toowong, the Reverend C. W. Houlbrooke conducted whatever services were held.

In 1888, however, steps were taken to provide a Church at Indooroopilly.


On Wednesday, January 18th 1888, at 8 p.m., a meeting of those interested in the erection of an Anglican Church at Indooroopilly, was held in the Wesleyan Church, River Terrace. (This was later converted into a private residence).

The Bishop of Brisbane (Bishop Webber) presided and there were present the Reverend C. W. Houlbrook, M.A. Rector of Toowong (of which Parish Indooroopilly was then a part), the Reverend J. S. Hassall, Rector of Sherwood, Messrs. G. L. Hart, Day, Nielson, Caiman, Strong, Bolton, Burston, Lambert, Scott, Foxton, Newman-Wilson and Rolston.

At this meeting the Reverend C. W. Houlbrook gave an account of Church work done in the district during the past years, and explained that it was first intended to build the Church on land kindly offered by Mr. Andrew Bogle on his estate at Witton.

This was not considered sufficiently central for the whole district so Mr. Graham Lloyd Hart offered to the Corporation of the Synod a half acre block at the corner of Lambert Road and what is now called Fairley Street.

It is believed that this offer was conditional of a brick church being ultimately erected thereon. This condition was fulfilled in 1965. The Bishop visited both sites and recommended Mr. Hart’s offer be accepted, and this was done.

Two resolutions were carried unanimously —

  1. Proposed by Mr. Nielson and seconded by Mr. Scott that it is desirable to take immediate steps for the erection of a Church at Indooroopilly.
  2. Proposed by Mr. Day and seconded by Mr. Hart that a committee be formed to give effect to the foregoing resolution and that the gentlemen present constitute such committee with power to add to their number.

Mr. Houlbrook was requested to wait upon the Diocesan Architect, and instruct him to prepare a plan for a brick Church to accommodate ultimately 500, and to give an estimate for a portion to seat 250.

A subscription list was opened and £148-6-0 was given.

A hearty vote of thanks to Messrs. G. L. Hart and Andrew Bogle for their offers of land was recorded, also to the trustees of the Wesleyan Church for the use of their building for the meeting that evening.

A further meeting was held on the 8th of March in “Greylands” the residence of Mr. G. L. Hart, the Rector of the Parish (the Reverend C. V. Houlbrook) presiding. The Diocesan Architect (Mr. J. H. Buckeridge) was present and Messrs. Andrew Bogle and Brown were added to the committee.

Further subscriptions were promised, bringing the total up to £300.

A plan of the proposed Church was laid on the table, but it was considered too large for the district, and the architect was asked to make another plan of a church to seat 250 people, and call for tenders to be submitted to a meeting of the committee to be held one month later.

Subscription lists were printed and circulated and a meeting of ladies called with a view to their assisting in the provision of funds.

The next meeting was held on the 8th of May, 1888 but no record of it or of subsequent meetings can be found. The next record is found in the Brisbane “Courier” of Monday, August 26th, 1889, in which a full report of the opening of the Church is given.

For the full table of contents and a PDF of the booklet, which includes photos, see the Parish History 1888–1968. Alternatively, go to Chapter 2.