On 6 June 1859, Queensland was established as a separate colony from New South Wales and within a remarkably short time the Anglican Church had a number of parishes with very impressive stone churches, including St Andrews in South Brisbane.
The church’s Rectory, on the corner of Vulture and Cordelia Streets, was constructed in 1889 – the same year plans were approved for the building of Brisbane’s St John’s Cathedral. The site on the lower slopes of Blakeney’s Hill was at the time considered both picturesque and prominent. The book “Church Register – An Inventory of Parish Churches within The Diocese of Brisbane 1847 – 1903″ further states:-
“St Andrew’s Church precinct reached the peak of its development in the 1930s when it comprised church, the parish hall, a rectory, stables, closets and clusters of mature trees”.
The Rectory was designed in March 1887 by the Diocesan Architect of Brisbane, J.H. Buckeridge, who came to Australia highly recommended by the Archbishop of Canterbury. It is believed to be the only surviving example of his domestic work. Apart from his work for the Church, he also designed a grandstand at Eagle Farm racecourse as well as the Gresham Hotel in the City. In New South Wales, Buckeridge remodeled the interior of St James’ Church in King St, Sydney, and worked on the completion of Newcastle Cathedral.
The Rectory is listed as having additions in 1892, also designed by Buckeridge who by this date had moved to New South Wales, where he continued to hold his position of Diocesan Architect of Brisbane until 1902 – the year in which Brisbane was officially declared a City.
As St Andrews predates St John’s Cathedral, it is not surprising that Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII), is said to have been entertained in the Rectory during his 1920 Australian visit. An article in Brisbane’s Courier Mail suggested the Church renamed the Rectory’s front parlour “The Royal Parlour” after the Prince took tea in the room.
In 1920, architect C. E. Deighton prepared plans and specifications for renovations to the Rectory. Between 1926 and 1947, the Rectory’s kitchen was altered and the laundry was demolished. More recently, the kitchen and former laundry were joined to create a kitchen/living area nearly 30 feet long, which now also opens out onto a spacious deck.
During the restoration process, the emphasis was to mend rather than to renew, in order to preserve the home’s original character. The home’s interior timber was in good condition when the home was bought by the current owners, though all verandah flooring was completely replaced. This magnificent and historically important residence now sits on leafy acreage in Brisbane’s outer west.
Much of this information was researched with the kind assistance of Glenda Murrell – Diocesan Archivist at the Anglican Church Diocesan Records & Archives Centre, Brisbane.