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“History restored”

Catholic Old St. Stephen's Church (chapel)
Ranked #35 of 358 things to do in Brisbane
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed June 30, 2014

This is a wonderful old building next to the cathedral. For many many years it was left to gradually "slip away" until St Stephen's was hugely renovated. and beautifully done. The work extended to the grounds, and the chapel. Within is a breathtaking art work, dedicated to Mary McKillop. The history and dignity of this place will bring a calmness that is hard to describe.

Thank Norman B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (275)
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149 - 153 of 275 reviews

Reviewed June 17, 2014

This cathedral is a beautiful old building however adjacent to the cathedral is a real treasure. The small chapel houses the most beautiful sculpture of St Mary Mackillop. Sculpted from camphor laurel the aroma hits you as soon as you enter. At the rear of the chapel the beauty of the sculpture takes your breath away.

3  Thank 9lasseter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 5, 2014

marvellous monument of sandstone.
beautiful stain glass paintings.
helpful volunteer.
prayer time.
in silence amidst the hustle bustle of brisbane.
radha aiyar.
mumbai, india.

1  Thank radhaaiyar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 30, 2014

The smell of camphor laurel that hits visitors on entry is a uniquely Queensland aroma. The sculpture of Saint Mary MacKillop carved from a camphor laurel log is original, powerful and inspiring.

1  Thank Elizabeth H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 29, 2014

Whilst in hospital last year a lovely night nurse directed my attention to the 100+ year old tree outside my window. I was intrigued to know more and ended up writing an essay on the story of the Sisters of Mercy - visionaries of the Mater Hospital in Brisbane.

When James Quinn, a Director and friend of the Sisters of Mercy in Ireland, was made Bishop of Brisbane (2 years after Queensland became a State in its own right) he asked the Sisters to send a group of Nuns with him to establish their work amongst the poor. They arrived in 1861 and I believe the little chapel to the right of the Cathedral is where the nights spent their first night on Australian soil. Bishop Quinn ordered the building of the Cathedral after realising the chapel was too small for their needs. It is a great story. Brave pioneers and social reformers leaving everything to travel to Australia.

The Statue of Mary McKillop (not a Sister of Mercy) is now housed in the Chapel. She is Australia's first saint. The crafting of the statue is incredible - made from a hundred year old Camphor Laurel tree the artist, John Elliott, gave it a rugged look to draw attention to the tenacity and perseverence of this lady. The rough bark "recalls the slab hut in which she opened her first school and the old fence posts she passed as she travelled through the Australian bush on horseback"

When you are on the grounds there are 2 other works of art to take notice of - The River of Stone continue the story of St. Stephen that begins on the windows - from preaching to trial and then martyrdom.

The Empire Stakes - which are easy to miss - are situated on the left side of the Cathedral - they are three posts carved by a leading indigenous artist, Judy Watson, out of ironbark. Originally the posts were placed one square mile from Brisbane's settlement - delineated the town's limits = markers to alert undesirables that they were not welcome in the town at night. This included indigenous people. Judy has placed them together to depict 'justice and respect for all'

2  Thank Bev H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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