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.

St Mary’s Anglican Church to Benefit from Community Sustainability Action Grant

The eastern gable wall of St Mary’s Anglican Church at Kangaroo Point will have a brand new look, as it will be repainted with the help of the Corporation of the Synod of the Diocese of Brisbane.

Known for providing residential and personal care across Australia, the Corporation of the Synod of the Diocese of Brisbane is among the recipients of the Queensland Government’s Community Sustainability Action Grant.

The corporation has acquired a total of $32,410 in fundings to repaint St Mary’s eastern gable wall, which are the vertical triangular wall between the sloping ends of its gable roof. They are among the 30 recipients of the $940,000 grant, which aims to protect the state’s important heritage places.

In addition to this, they also received $12,300 for the Conservation Management Plan of St. Mark’s Anglican Church in Warwick, another $30,140 for the repair of walls and roof in Milton, and $23,600 to reduce structural damage at the Old Bishopsbourne building at St Francis College in Milton.

Photo Credit:

Built in 1873 by Alfred Grant to a design by diocesan architect Richard G Suter, St Mary’s Anglican Church at Kangaroo Point is a neo-Gothic style church. The gable roof, originally timber shingled, is now in ribbed galvanized iron. It is surmounted by a small stone bellcote at the front gable.

The Anglican Church building, one of the visual and historical landmarks in Kangaroo Point, was entered in the Queensland Heritage Register 21 October 1992.

About the Community Sustainability Action Grant

This round of funding is part of the Government’s $18 million Community Sustainability Action Grants Program, which helps conserve Queensland’s environment and heritage and protect wildlife.

“Heritage places are an important aspect of the community’s character and identity and they allow us to trace our history and feel connected to the important stories about our past,” Minister for Environment and the Arts Leeanne Enoch said in a media statement. 

To date, a total of over of $9 million has been allocated to 264 projects under the Community Sustainability Action grant program.