Red Hill’s St Brigid’s Church: The 100-yr-old Landmark On the Hill

A striking red brick structure can be seen, perched on top of the hills that provide sweeping views of the suburb of Red Hill. This red brick building is St. Brigid’s, designed by the prominent architect Robin Dods and modelled after a 13th-century French cathedral.

Compared with other Catholic churches in Europe that are often adorned with carvings, ancient paintings and elaborately patterned stained glass, St. Brigid’s interior is a little bit more austere. The design, inspired by St. Cecile’s Cathedral at Albi in the South of France, features gothic elements and Romanesque styles.

Photo credit: http://www.catholicleader.com.au
Photo credit: http://www.catholicleader.com.au

In designing St. Brigid’s, Architect Dods also took into consideration the Brisbane climate. Everything in the building, from the height of structure, its windows, balconies, French doors, arches and its open chancel, was designed to accommodate the suburb’s changing climate.

 

Coming-of-age of Catholics in Brisbane

St. Brigid’s is a church with some significance to the whole of Brisbane, owing to its visibility from all directions. It was the largest parish in Brisbane when it was built between 1912 and 1914 by Thomas Keenan, a well-known builder in the early 20th century. The church was built to accommodate 1,000 people.

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The opening ceremony of St. Brigid’s in 1915 was a big day for the Catholic community in Brisbane. The church represented the coming-of-age of the Catholics in a city that was dominated by Anglicans.

Photo credit: www.catholicleader.com.au
Photo credit: www.catholicleader.com.au

The name St. Brigid’s was derived from an Irish female saint, St Brigid of Kildare. Her life-size statue can be seen above the church’s entrance porch. St. Brigid herself is known for healing and was said to be very domesticated during her lifetime.

 

Heritage Building

Today, St. Brigid’s is one of six churches in the Jubilee parish. Widely regarded as one of Brisbane’s major landmarks, the church just celebrated its centennial year in 2014. Due to its heritage, the church is now a part of the National Trust as one of its heritage buildings.

 

Photo credit: www.catholicleader.com.au