Churches and Shrines

Multiple Locations

Brisbane is a city filled with churches and even boasts no less than two separate cathedrals. These not only represent some of Brisbane's most exquisite examples of built heritage, they also help us to understand local values and beliefs. As you marvel at a handful of Brisbane's churches, featuring spectacular stone masonry, stained-glass windows, artworks and memorabilia, enjoy some of the sculptures accentuating the other fine heritage buildings, shrines, and open spaces along the way. This tour will surprise you with its many stories and connections to our fascinating city community.

The combined Churches and Shrines Tour takes around four hours. If you only have around two to three hours, the following sub-options are recommended: visit only the Cathedrals only; visit the Ann Street precinct and ANZAC Square only.

Journey Details

Duration
4 Hours
Distance
2.2 Kilometres

Full Itinerary

St Stephen's Cathedral to Anzac Square

Start your tour at the magnificent Cathedral of St Stephen (249 Elizabeth Street) - please take care to avoid mass times of 10am and 12.30pm.

The historical St Stephen's Chapel was completed only eight years after the coming of the free settlers to Brisbane (1842). St Stephen's Chapel was the first Catholic Church in Brisbane and today is known as the oldest church in Queensland.

Bishop Quinn, the first bishop of the diocese, laid the foundation stone of the cathedral on the feast of St Stephen, 26 December 1863. A larger and more ornate church was envisaged than the present one but the economic depression of the mid-1860s resulted in only part of the original foundations being laid. Using the existing foundations, work was re-commenced early in 1870. On Sunday, 17 May 1874, the still-incomplete cathedral was solemnly blessed and dedicated.

Archbishop John Bathersby blessed the Jubilee Pipe Organ on 29 October 2000. He also authorised the restoration of St Stephen's Chapel in which a diocesan shrine to Mary MacKillop was established.

From here, stroll across the road and through the GPO Laneway to ANZAC Square.

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Route Details

Route Type
One Way
Level of Difficulty
Level 1: Suitable for the disabled with assistance
Mode of Travel
Walk
Anzac Square to St John's Cathedral

Visit the Shrine of Memories, the Queensland Women's War Memorial, and the Eternal Flame in the Shrine of Remembrance at ANZAC Square.

ANZAC Square, named in honour of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, is a Queensland state memorial to men and women who participated in overseas armed service. It is located between Ann Street and Adelaide Street (opposite Post Office Square).

On 25 April, every year, a Dawn Service is held at the Shrine of Remembrance and ANZAC Square.

ANZAC Square contains the Shrine of Remembrance and the 'Eternal Flame of Remembrance' held in a continuously lit bronze urn, dedicated on Tuesday, 11 November 1930.

ANZAC Square also contains the World War II Shrine of Memories underneath the Shrine of Remembrance.

The external wall of the Shrine of Memories is dedicated to the 60,000 Queenslanders who fought in World War I. There are also war-related statues, for various wars, including memorial statues for the Queensland soldiers who fought during the Second Boer War (1899-1902), as well as World War II, the Vietnam War and campaigns in Korea, Borneo and New Guinea.

From here, stroll up to St John's Cathedral.

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Route Details

Route Type
One Way
Level of Difficulty
Level 1: Suitable for the disabled with assistance
Mode of Travel
Walk
St John's Cathedral to All Saints Church

Absorb the exquisite stonemasonry at St John's Cathedral and St Martin's House (373 Ann Street).

St John's Cathedral is a fine example of nineteenth century Gothic-Revival architecture designed in 1888 by John Loughborough Pearson.

The three stages, 1906 to 1910 and 1963 to 1968, 1989 to 2009 have created a superb Gothic interior with a forest of elegant sandstone columns and arches supporting the only stone vaulted ceiling in Australia.

Once inside the Cathedral, with space to seat 1,000 people, the visitor can see many examples of superb creative arts: examples of exquisite wood carvings include the Choir stalls and Archbishop's seat intricately carved in Queensland Silkwood. There are more than 400 needlework cushions designed by Queensland College of Arts students, featuring Australian flora and fauna. St John's Cathedral is also home to a Coin Collection that reflects the history of Christianity and some flags from episodes of war.

Special note: every Wednesday morning, a free morning tea is offered to all visitors at St John's Cathedral. If you are taking this tour on a Wednesday, please keep this in mind as a refreshment/rest point as this tour does involve so many sites and a fair amount of walking.

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Route Details

Route Type
One Way
Level of Difficulty
Level 1: Suitable for the disabled with assistance
Mode of Travel
Walk
All Saints Church to Masonic Memorial Temple

All Saints' is the oldest surviving church in use in the inner city area. In 1856 a portion of land on Windmill Hill was granted for the purpose of establishing a church to serve the infant colony of Brisbane.

The interior contains a fine example of hammer-beam roof construction which is very rare in Australia. The east end windows were installed in 1870 and are the oldest stained glass church windows in Brisbane.

All Saints' Church architecture is Early English Gothic Revival style.

From the steps just outside All Saints, there is a great view of your next stop, the rather imposing and impressive Masonic Temple, located at 311 Ann Street.

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Route Details

Route Type
One Way
Level of Difficulty
Level 1: Suitable for the disabled with assistance
Mode of Travel
Walk
Masonic Memorial Temple to St Andrew's Uniting Church

Imagine a heritage building resembling a sacred cathedral, a royal palace and an antiquities museum all rolled into one.

Brisbane has such a building, but it is rarely seen. The Masonic Memorial Temple in Ann Street, a trove of Freemason history, has been hidden away for 80 years behind towering Corinthian columns. Guided Tours are now available daily at 2pm. Phone to make a booking and/or visit their website for more information on Freemasons Queensland.

The Masonic Temple, steeped as it is in history and architectural intrigue is yet still a mystery to most Queenslanders as it has not always been open to the public.

The temple was built as a shrine and monument as well as to accommodate large Masonic events. It comes complete with grand ceremonial spaces, particularly the Grand Hall, the Court of Remembrance and the massive urn of remembrance built in memory of masons who fell in World War I. Designed by Lange Powell, himself a Freemason, and constructed between 1928 and 1930, the temple was built solely from Queensland materials.

From here, stroll just a few doors away to St Andrew's Uniting Church on the corner of Creek and Ann Streets.

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Route Details

Route Type
One Way
Level of Difficulty
Level 1: Suitable for the disabled with assistance
Mode of Travel
Walk
St Andrew's Uniting Church to Albert Street Uniting Church

St Andrew's was built during 1904 under the supervision of its architect George D. Payne. It was opened and dedicated as a Presbyterian Church in 1905. Situated on the corner of Creek Street and Ann Street, the red brick and concrete building has been a Brisbane landmark since its construction in the days of the horse and cart. Its design with strong architectural forms including prominent tower, semi-circular arched openings and steeply pitched gables brilliantly exploits the potential of the constrained sloping site.

Continue your stroll down Ann Street to your final destination, Albert Street Uniting Church. This places you back close to the city's centre.

The five foundation stones for Albert Street Uniting Church were laid on August 18, 1888, and the completed church was opened by Lady Norman, wife of Sir Henry Norman, the Governor of the day, on November 8 1889.

This church always has been popular with its congregation and there must be many couples who remember taking their wedding vows here, especially during the World War II years when as many as sixteen weddings took place each day.

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Route Details

Route Type
One Way
Level of Difficulty
Level 1: Suitable for the disabled with assistance
Mode of Travel
Walk

Find What's Nearby

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Camooweal Caves National Park

Camooweal, Mount Isa Area
Free Entry
Wide expanses of Mitchell grass plains and spinifex woodland are protected in this park on the Barkly Tableland, a peaceful stopover for weary travellers. The park features caves and sinkholes that were formed when water percolated through 500 million year-old layers of soluble dolomite creating caverns linked by vertical shafts up to 75 metres deep.
Free Entry
This exceptional park features spectacular gorge country, including the lush oasis of Lawn Hill Gorge, sandstone ranges and World Heritage fossils. One of Queensland's most scenic national parks, it is home to abundant and diverse wildlife.

Lawn Hill Circuit

Lawn Hill, Burke Area
Free Entry
This circuit travels through a variety of differing landscapes through the heart of the Gulf Savannah. Discover hidden oases where pandanus palms and giant paperbarks border crystal clear waters. Rare fossils of long-extinct species are scattered throughout the awe inspiring geology.

Riversleigh Fossil Fields

Mount Isa, Mount Isa Area
Free Entry
The Australian Fossil Mammal Sites at Riversleigh and Naracoorte were inscribed in the World Heritage List in 1994 for their outstanding representation of the evolution of Australian mammals and the quality of their fossils, which are preserved in limestone.

Combo Conservation Park

Kynuna, McKinlay Area
Free Entry
Combo Conservation Park protects a string of semi-permanent waterholes along the Diamantina River in Queensland’s outback. They are said to have been the poet A B (Banjo) Paterson's inspiration for Waltzing Matilda, Australia's most popular folk song.

Burketown

Burketown, Burke Area
The Gulf Savannah is an interesting region to visit all year. However during the monsoon season, transportation methods must be carefully considered, as some parts of the Gulf Savannah region suffer from a lack of road infrastructure.

Julia Creek

Julia Creek, McKinlay Area
Julia Creek is located on the Overlander's Way, the main route from Townsville that runs west to Mount Isa and on to Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory. Julia Creek started to grow when the railway line was extended in February 1908.

McKinlay

Mckinlay, McKinlay Area
Located 104 kilometres south east of Cloncurry, McKinlay was named after the McKinlay River which was discovered and named by the explorer John McKinlay. McKinlay had arrived in New South Wales in 1836 and by 1861 had become such an adept bushman that he was chosen to lead the South Australian Burke Relief Expedition to search for the missing Burke and Wills.

Mount Isa

Mount Isa, Mount Isa Area
Affectionately known as the 'oasis of the outback', Mount Isa is a gleaming mirage on the horizon for travellers from all directions. Nestled among the ochre-red Selwyn Ranges, on the banks of the Leichhardt River, Mount Isa is a bustling melting pot of culture and industry and also home to the world's third largest rodeo.

Duchess

Duchess, Cloncurry Area
In earlier days Duchess was an important railway and mining town which has declined since the advent of road transport. Today, relive the glory days over a drink or two at the local Duchess Hotel where the beer and stories flow.
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