Toowong’s St Ignatius Catholic Church Remains To Be a Beautiful Sanctuary of Faith and Hope

Photo credit: Shiftchange/Wikimedia Commons

Listed on the Queensland Heritage Register. St. Ignatius Catholic Church in Toowong is a living memorial to the faith and generosity of the priests, sisters, and parishioners over the decades. Built on property donated by the Sisters of Mercy, the two-storey building opened on the 18th of May, in 1930.

The church is known for the striking scagliola seen on the pulpit and sanctuary. Scagliola is an artificial stone made from different materials that can mimic different stone types. The technique was developed in Germany and Italy and was mainly used for churches. Considered a notable feature of the church, the scagliola is also part of the reasons why the Church is in the Queensland Heritage Register.

 

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Looking Back

In 1928, the Archbishop Duhig recruited architect Jack Hennessy to work on some plans for a new church because the existing church and school, which was run by the Jesuits in 1916, have become inadequate for the growing population in the suburb.

In 1929, the very first foundation stone was laid. Archbishop Dug held a ceremony and said that the “the day of wooden churches are past.”

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The new church was built by Concrete Constructions Ltd, using only the best materials whilst the five altars were designed by H Credington of the Catholic Art Gallery in Melbourne.

That year, the Architects and Builders Journal of Queensland predicted that the Toowong church will rank as one of the most beautiful churches in Queensland. The Catholic Leader, meanwhile, remarked that the church will be most suitable to the Queensland climate.

 

The Church Today

The two-storey building features a hall on the lower level. The church proper is located on the upper level. Its eye-catching brickwork is done in orange and brown, visible while walking on Grove Street. The walls are lined up with the Stations of the Cross. You can access the lower floor through a separate entrance that showcases a large hall with a stage and a verandah on the northern side. Just behind the church is a brick school.

Just recently, one of the most loved parish priests Fr. Peter Quin succumbed to Myelodysplastic syndrome, “a blood disorder which was pre-cancerous but required chemo which gradually weakened his system over the past year,” on 22 November, 2016, He was 86.

Brimming with energy despite his advanced age, he is remembered for his frequent interactions with the community, gaining the trust and love of the Catholics surrounding the area. He was considered as the closest the parish had to a Francis Xavier due to his energy, passion, and availability.

Father Quin’s ministry was very strong in marriages and baptisms. He was very passionate in strengthening the Catholic family unit in the Church community, which brought him closer to the Catholic families in the suburb.

In structure and in spirit, St Ignatius Catholic Church is truly a landmark in the community, a beautiful sanctuary of faith and hope.