Scroll to top

Annerley Ekibin Parish

Mary Immaculate church painting

Annerley Ekibin Parish is a parish under the care of the Brisbane Oratory in Formation in the Archdiocese of Brisbane. Within the Parish we have two churches, Mary Immaculate Church in Annerley and St John Fisher Church Tarragindi. We also have the care of St Elizabeth’s Chapel Ekibin.

Mary Immaculate Church was built in 1932 to meet the needs of the growing Catholic community in Annerley. Archbishop Duhig opened the church on the 2 May 1932 with a Solemn Pontifical Mass. Archbishop Duhig stated that the beauty of the church would, “…elevate men’s minds to God the Author of all beauty and goodness.”

Parish History

Mary Immaculate Church was originally named the Ipswich Road Parish until it was combined with the Ekibin Parish by Archbishop John Bathersby on 30 November 2003. The Parish includes the church of St John Fisher and the St Elizabeth’s Chapel. The parish has been under the care of the Brisbane Oratory in Formation since 2014.

St John Fisher Church was built in 1960 and originally named St Pius X. It was refurbished in 2003. The refurbishment included the repositioning of the altar and lectern to the centre of the church and arranging the seating into a ‘fishbone’ pattern. The church was returned to the original arrangement in 2014.

The first Mass in Ekibin was celebrated in 1947 in an old weatherboard house on the site of the current St Elizabeth’s chapel. Effingham Street was still a dirt road and Fr John Torpie, the first Parish Priest was living with his mum due to the lack of a presbytery. In 1951, Fr Basil Bergin was appointed and immediately set to building the church and school simultaneously. The parishioners undertook a large fundraising project and many spent their Saturdays working on the church and school. Archbishop Duhig blessed and opened the church in 1955 and the school in 1958. A future church was planned for the corner of Effingham St and Cracknell Rd however the owner refused to sell initially and the land was subsequently used by the school for a playground. Controversially, the church was closed in 2005 and converted into a chapel and classrooms

The parish is also proud of the numerous parishioners who have found a vocation to the priesthood and religious life. This has included over 16 priests, two religious brothers and in excess of 25 religious women.

Mary Immaculate Church

With the growth of Annerley and surrounds in the early 1900s, increasing numbers of Catholics were forced to walk in excess of five kilometres to St Joseph’s Church at Kangaroo Point for Sunday Mass and school.

A group of parishioners approached Archbishop James Duhig with a proposal to construct a building that could serve the parish as both a church and a school. Their request was approved and land was subsequently purchased by Archbishop Duhig for £814 in October 1912.

Original church and school

The parishioners constructed the building within 20 months and on Sunday 14 June 1914, Archbishop Duhig blessed and opened the new church/school. The church was named Mary Immaculate and situated where the Marymac Community Centre now stands. The first parish priest was Fr James Gallagher who transferred from St Joseph’s Cathedral in Rockhampton. The church was a timber structure surrounded by a verandah and was able to hold 300 people. The original high altar was constructed of timber.

The Ipswich Road Parish (as it was known) embraced the present parishes of Coopers Plains, Corinda, Darra, Graceville, Inala, Moorooka, Oxley, Salisbury, Sunnybank and Woodridge. The Parish Priests originally travelled by horseback to service the large area until the parishioners purchased a ‘T’ model Ford in 1920.

Current church

Only ten years after the opening of the original church, Archbishop Duhig announced that a new church would be built to meet the needs of the fast-growing parish. He said that the church would be large and one of the finest of its kind in Queensland. The church would be built in memory of Parish Priest, Father James Gallagher, who had died of a heart attack on the Thursday before whilst performing maintenance work on the fence.

The Foundation stone was laid in the midst of the Great Depression on 11 October 1931 by Archbishop Duhig who stated that the beauty of the church would, “…elevate men’s minds to God the Author of all beauty and goodness.”

The church was completed and blessed by Archbishop Duhig during a High Mass on Sunday, 1 May 1932. Archbishop Duhig dedicated the church to Mary Immaculate stating:

The completion of this church is a triumph not only for religion but for our architectural art. For many years to come this sacred edifice will stand as a monument to the faith and perseverance of the people. Young as Australia is, she has put up a fine record in raising noble edifices to the Glory of God. By building of a temple of God under the title of His Immaculate Mother we could be assured of her assistance and help in a very special way.”

Archbishop Duhig described the church as, ‘an imposing brick structure of which the tower and spire stand out clearly on the heights of Annerley. A most impressive large Gothic arch with the words “Hic Est Domus Dei” – This is the House of God.’

The church was designed to suit the summer climate by allowing the church to convert to an open air building. It is designed to hold 600 people. Provision was also made for a parish hall under the church (Building and real estate). All building materials are Queensland products and the work was completed by local labour. Steel beams which were used to build the Sydney Harbour Bridge were used to hold up the floor. The striking features when built were the ceiling of gothic trusses, mural confessionals and lamp fittings which were designed in the form of a cross and a grand pulpit made of silky oak.

The church is a French Gothic style which dominates the south western corner of the site which it shares with a presbytery, convent, classroom buildings and other associated school facilities. Apart from the church, all buildings on this site have been constructed after 1950. The church is built in the traditional form with a western front which is located close to the Ipswich Road alignment. The design includes a number of significant features including an octagonal bell tower with a copper spire and a large rose window on its western face.

St John Fisher Church

St John Fisher Church is situated at 17 Messines Ridge Road, Tarragindi. It was built in 1960, as a war memorial church, and originally named St Pius X. The large parcel of land was originally intended to include a primary school and original plans included the building of 8 classrooms.

St Elizabeth’s Chapel

St Elizabeth’s Chapel is situated at 61 Effingham Street, Tarragindi. It was opened as a church in 1955 with Fr Basil Bergin the original priest. Prior to the building of the Church, Masses had been celebrated in a converted house in Effingham Street, one of two that had been purchased in 1947. In 2005, then parish priest, Fr John Worthington and Archbishop John Bathersby arranged for the Church to be transferred into a Chapel. In 2020, the Parish commenced Perpetual Adoration at the Chapel.