History of St Mark’s, Clayfield

A Brief History of the Parish Church of St Mark the Evangelist

CLAYFIELD (ALBION) 1888 – 1964

On 22 December 1887 land was purchased on the corner of Bridge Street (now Hudson Road) and Moore Street, Albion for the erection of a daughter church of St Andrew, Lutwyche. Arrangements were made for the opening of St Mark’s on 29 or 30 May, whichever was more suitable. In Bishop Webber’s absence overseas the timber church was dedicated by Bishop Dawes in May 1888 although the date is not recorded. There the timber church stood for eleven years.

‘Seats’ were built to accommodate 200 people; ‘plain-ended with slope similar to the seats of St Andrew’s.’ The total cost to St Andrew’s parish for the purchase of land, buildings, furnishings, etc. was £350. 9s. 5d.  In April 1890 Webber issued instructions that the church was to be moved to an unspecified site in Old Sandgate Road (now Bonney Avenue), Clayfield but by 1898 the church had not been moved. In 1899 land was purchased on the corner of Old Sandgate Road and Bellevue Terrace and the church was moved to the new site. After relocation a new chancel measuring 20 ft. by 24ft. was built, the original chancel being used as the baptistery. At the opening ceremony on 4 August 1899 Webber preached the sermon, and a social gathering was held in the Albion Public Hall on 7 August. Nearly 300 parishioners were present. (See an article that appeared in the Brisbane Courier about the relocation of the church: Brisbane Courier 3 August 1899 ).

With the church in its new site St Mark’s settled down to a fairly quiet regularity. Money as always was in short supply, and fund-rising became part of parish life.  In 1904 a sinking fund was established to reduce St Mark’s debt. All subscriptions towards debt reduction and the proceeds of parish fêtes and entertainments in the Lutwyche and Albion districts of the parish, not required for the St Andrew’s vestry fund and interest on debts etc., were to be appropriated to the sinking fund.

In July 1910 a parish hall and Sunday school was built, and dedicated by Abp Donaldson on 26 November 1910. To augment parish funds the hall was available for hire for social purposes. By May 1915 the hall was too small for the Sunday school. Eventually a veranda was added and by 1923 the hall was again too small. Other organisations based at St Mark’s flourished. The G.F.S. was the largest in the diocese, and the Boys’ Gordon Club the second largest.

Donations of memorial gifts increased during and after World War I. These included the centre and one side panel of the triptych above the altar (now in situ in the new church), silver cruets, a silver chalice. A new organ was dedicated in July 1919 as St Mark’s thanksgiving for the war’s end. A red cedar rood screen was given in 1921 and two years later the red cedar reredos carved by L. J. Harvey and the red cedar panelling on either side of the reredos was put in place.  In 1921 electric lights were installed, the gift of a parish family.  The creation of St Mark’s as a separate parish had been discussed many times, but St Andrew’s parishioners were loath to relinquish their grip on their daughter church. In 1925 the separation became a fact in name if not in substance. The separation was subject to certain financial arrangements, which were agreed to and in 1935 the actual parish boundaries between St Andrew’s, St Augustine’s, and St Mark’s were agreed to.

In the 1950’s the life of the ageing church was nearing its end and discussions were held regarding replacement. Financial arrangements were made and plans drawn up and the new church of ‘brick and glass’ was eventually built.  On 31 May 1964 it was dedicated by the Rt Rev. R. J. Hudson, Coadjutor of Brisbane, and consecrated by him on 20 April 1970.

We are indebted to the late Dr Alex Kidd for supplying the above history, photos courtesy of the Diocesan Archives.

Remeniscences from the 130 Year Anniversary Concert held 17 June 2019 by Robert Standish-White can be found here: REMENISCENCES

The complete history titled St Mark’s on Maida Hill 1888 – 1964, (Brisbane, 2001) was written by Dr Alex Kidd and is available from the church office or by phoning 3862 2221.

Another Parish History is available here : St Mark’s 1925-1975

Obituary of the late Rev’d Phil Crook (former Rector of St Mark’s) as it appeared in the Brisbane Courier Mail March 2014: Obituary P Crook

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