St Mary’s: Explore a Beloved Treasure in Kangaroo Point

Past the park on the cliffs of Kangaroo Point, overlooking the Brisbane Botanic Gardens and the CBD, is St Mary’s Anglican Church. Reminiscent of an old English village church, this impressive neo-gothic stone structure dates back to the late 1800s and is considered one of Brisbane treasures.

St Mary’s is Brisbane’s second oldest church and remains one of the most popular wedding venues in the city. A Kangaroo Point landmark, this church was built by Alfred Grant and designed by architect Richard George Suter in 1873 to replace a timber church erected three decades before.

Intimate, peaceful, and quiet despite the city’s traffic below the cliffs,  both church members and visitors come to this sanctuary to reflect and relish in a serene surrounding, which is quite a rarity in Kangaroo Point.

Photo Credit: Rhys Lauder/Google Maps

Historical Claims to Fame

In 1876, a pipe organ built by H.C. Lincoln from the early 1800s, was transported from London to St. Mary’s, the organ’s main custodian. Believed to be the oldest pipe organ in Queensland, this instrument was damaged and repaired in a number of instances and has had a major rebuilt in the 1960s. At present, the instrument is in need of major refurbishments to further preserve its historical significance.

Photo Credit: Organ Historical Trust of Australia

St Mary’s was entered into the Queensland Heritage Register in 1992 as an important place of religious worship, especially for the naval community surrounding the area. In 1903, the HMQS Gayundah conducted its first ship-to-shore radio trials inside the church.

Photo Credit: Rhys Lauder/Google Maps

St Mary’s church grounds are filled with Navy memorials. In the 1950s, a Warrior’s Chapel was dedicated to the fallen heroes, including those who served the HMAS Voyager.

Photo Credit: Enis/Google Maps  

On the ceiling of the sanctuary are paintings by English Godfrey Rivers. Down the walls are three panels with his work. Mr Rivers is best known to Australians for his masterpiece, Under the Jaracanda, in 1903, which is on display at GOMA.

Lilian Cooper, the first female doctor in Queensland, was a frequent worshipper at St Mary’s along with her lifetime partner, Josephine Bedford. One of the church’s stained-glass windows is a memorial to the doctor’s legacy. They were the original residents of the St Mary’s rectory next to the church. 

Photo Credit: Queensland Heritage Register
Photo Credit: Queensland State Library

Visiting St Mary’s

Prior to the pandemic, guided and self-access tours took place at St Mary’s at least once a week. Currently, the site is open to the public for gardening sessions between 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m on Fridays. Choir rehearsals also take place on Thursday evening and slots are open for anyone who might want to join the group. 

Follow St Mary’s on Facebook for updates on services and church activities.