Saturday, 9 May 2015

St Mary Magdalene’s @ Moore Street, Adelaide

St Mary Magdalene’s @ Moore Street, Adelaide

This week I visited St Mary Magdalene’s Church in Moore Street. The church was established in 1886. It is an Anglican Church in the Catholic Tradition and a Mission Church.

The church was built in 1887 as an mission church of the old St John’s church. It is designed in the Gothic Style by R. Garlick Howell and built of Brick and blue-stone salvaged from the St John’s church in Halifax Street, that was demolished in 1886. Salvaged items include the bricks and the windows.

It was difficult to find this church as it is hidden by the parking garage just before it. On the outside the church looks very plain but has a nice brick bell tower. Another interesting feature is the Memorial Plaque commemorating World War I which is next to the entrance. It is a beautiful Mosaic of Christ on the cross with Mary Magdalene weeping at his feet.

Next door to the church building is the St Peters Mission Hall for which construction began in 1912. From the Mission Hall the community runs a drop in centre that helps the homeless and transient people of Adelaide. It includes a free meal every Saturday and other services

Upon entry of the building you find yourself in a very small front porch. A metal gate decorated with Fleur-de-lisle bars the way into the main Aisle of the church. At the end of the aisle is the Alter and the only decorated windows of the church. The Sanctuary Windows was designed and executed by Vanessa Smith nee Lambe. An accomplished designer who also completed windows for other churches around Adelaide. The window is dedicated to the memory of Percy Robert Ferris, Rector of the parish from 1940-1947.

Along the wall are 5 windows and between each window is a painting by Peter Coad. The Paintings are called Autumn 2003. Peter Coad is an accomplished landscape artist who uses vibrant colours which really come to the fore in the church building.

Along each side of the walls are little plaques depicting the stations of the Cross. The carvings are exquisite and my personal favourite is number 4, Jesus meets his Mother. I spend a long time admiring each plaque and can really recommend this to any visitor.

The Altar at the back of the church is also worth a look. It is superbly carved and features saints and a some wonderful gold leaved paintings.

During my visit a service was being held and as this is an Anglican church in the Catholic Tradition it incorporates Catholic traditions such as burning of incense. I personally love the smell and enjoy seeing the smoke swirl around a church.

Another unusual occurrence during the services is that the Priest turns his or her back to the congregation so as to always face the alter and God. The responses are also not traditional Anglican. For anyone interested the church is open on Tuesday and Thursday from 12pm, Saturday from 5pm and Sunday from 9am.

At the back of the church is the baptismal font and the organ. The original organ was moved a few times but was finally replaced with in 1989 by an electronic organ donated by St Mark’s Maylands upon the closure of that church.

Overall I enjoyed my visit to this church very much. The ambiance is very Coy and homely. A lovely place to visit and explore. The parish and its rector are very friendly and welcoming. If you want some more information please visit their blog:


Thursday, 23 April 2015

Flinders Street Baptist Church @ 65 Flinders Street

Flinders Street Baptist Church @ 65 Flinders Street

This week I visited the Flinders Street Baptist Church on Flinders Street, Adelaide. This church building is near Observatory House half way down Flinders Street. The site includes, the Church, Mead Hall and a Manse. I only visited the Church building itself.

The Church building’s foundation stone was laid in 1861 by David Randall of Mount Crawford and completed in 1863. The architect was Robert George Thomas. The Mead Hall was erected from 1867 to 1870 and the Manse was completed 1877. The building is made of Glen Osmond Stone with quoins mouldings and dressings of worked Dry Creek Stone

The Front entrance is made through 3 arches. Above this entrance is a large Rose window. A small amount leaves are carved on the pillars supporting the arches and are very pretty, so are the small lanterns on either side. The approach to the church was remodelled in 1973 according to a small plaque nearby.

Once inside you enter through a small door on the left. There is a door on the right but it was locked at the time. Once inside, you are faced with 3 rows of wooden pews and pillars supporting the gallery above. The church can accommodate up to 600 people due to the two levels.

Behind the alter is the Organ which was installed in 1886. It is an unusual place for an instrument but it does allow you to appreciate its striking beauty. It is played and tuned regularly so I can definitely recommend coming along to one of their concerts.

The altar seems a bit small for a church this big but from this end you can really appreciate the rose window over the entrance. It is kind of hidden by the gallery which is a bit of a shame as the building does not have any other glass in lead windows which are a bit of my favourite.

Below the gallery is a glass room, I think for the children's play area. Unfortunately there were no greeters present to talk to and discuss the church and its history. I could also not find any pamphlet or any information on the website which is a shame.

Other noteworthy features of the church includes a WW1 memorial plaque and a 100 year commemoration plaque. Overall the church felt a bit messy. I did not really feel welcome and although it was lovely to wander around I was a bit disappointed by the interior. The exterior of the building is magnificent and I love the different coloured stone and the buttresses but inside was a bit of a let down.

Still, I would recommend having a look and making up your own mind. The Church is open on Tuesdays between 1pm and 2pm for free 40 minute music concerts. On Wednesdays from 12pm to 2pm for quiet reflection and prayer. Sunday Services are from 10am.


Friday, 17 April 2015

Pilgrim Uniting Church @ 12 Flinders Street, Adelaide SA

Pilgrim Uniting Church @ 12 Flinders Street, Adelaide SA

Adelaide, South Australia is rightly called the city of churches. A walk around the city testifies to this and many churches are still standing. Although not all have retained their original purpose, they are still worth a visit.

This week I visited the Pilgrim Uniting Church. This Church is just of Victoria Square on Flinders Street. This architectural gem is build in the Revival Gothic style and is listed with the National Trust. The building is set a little back from Flinders Street and almost dwarfed by the buildings and trees surrounding it.

According to the Pilgrim Uniting Church History Pamphlet provided inside the land for the church was originally bought in 1863 and the foundation stone was laid by Alexander Hay on 7 February 1865. Alexander Hay was the member for Gumeracha and a leading merchant and pastoralist. The church was opened 12 April 1867. And named after the reverend Thomas Quinton Stow, the first Congregational Minister in the colony, who had passed away in 1862.

The building was designed by Robert G. Thomas and the front porch is supported by large columns sporting carved decorations by carver Samuel Peters. Please try and locate the squirrel on the center pillar. Other decorations include fruits and flowers. It gives the front of the building a very Gothic but charming appearance. Once through the arches into the inside porch, doors on both sides lead to the interior.

In 1969, after years of talk, the Pirie Street Methodist Church and the Stow Memorial Congregational Church formed an united Parish with the interim name of Union Church in the City. Both church buildings had stood back to back for years, divided by a high fence and a locked gate but now they joined together. In the early 1970’s the Adelaide City Council compulsory acquired the Pirie Street building and the congregations moved into the present building. Before the demolition of the Pirie Street Church, the memorial plaques, stained glass windows, wood paneling from the pulpit and the large organ were moved to the Flinders Street church.

Upon entering the Nave of the building, you are immediately struck by the lightness of the building. The beautiful stained glass windows let in marvelous light and are very decorative. There are three large Rose windows in the Chapel, One each on the west and east transept and a beautiful blue/purple colored one above the altar. The nave window is from circa 1920 and features 10 cherubs and a small central cross. The other smaller windows along the clerestory are a bit harder to see but the Aisle windows are magnificent, each depicting a Christian scenes. My favorite was the rose window in the nave but I would recommend everyone to take some time to study these amazing examples of the glass makers art.

On the opposite of the Church above the entrance is the organ. The original organ was sold in 1973 but the current Organ is pretty amazing. It was built originally by Eagle ltd of London and installed in the Pirie Street Methodist Church in 1855. It was then the largest in the Colony with 21 stops over two manuals and pedals. It was renovated, rebuilt and enlarged in 1884, 1902 and 1930. In 1973 it was installed in this Church, it was also enlarged at this time and is now the largest organ in the state.

In 1977 the church was renamed to the Pilgrim Uniting Church upon formation of the Uniting Church of Australia. The Uniting Church in Australia was formed by a union of most Congregational, Methodist and Presbyterian Churches in Australia.

I can heartily recommend a visit to this small but charming church. It is open everyday from 12 to 2pm with lunch time concerts on Wednesdays and Organ recitals on Thursday. For more information please visit