Deanery at St John’s Cathedral, Brisbane, 21 July 1958

News of the day

Courier-Mail, Wednesday 8 July 1953, page 8


ST. JOHN'S Cathedral deanery, one of Queensland's oldest buildings, has a new tenant this week.

From the deanery balcony 94 years ago, Queensland was proclaimed a self-governing colony. The deanery was built by convict labour, and was first a doctor's residence and then the official home of the first Governor (Sir George Bowen). Inside its weathered stone walls any day this week you will find the new St. John's Cathedral Dean, the Very Rev. Denis Taylor, wearing a clerical collar and a pair of dungarees as he helps to put the finishing touches to complete renovation of the old building.

Is bachelor

A bachelor at 45, Dean Taylor was a Scottish schoolmaster for six years before he entered the church, had a brilliant scholastic record at Glasgow University. As youth organiser for the Scottish Episcopal Church, he travelled every part of the country as far north as the Orkneys, later went for three years to London. He was director of the Anglican Church's General Board of Religious Education in Melbourne for four years before coining to Brisbane. Tall and scholarly, he held a hammer in his hands yesterday as he confessed that his hobby (and that of his sister, who acts as housekeeper) was 'to make a home nice to live in.'

Keen on working with tools, he has helped to repair the staircase in the deanery, and has given a hand with other work. But for the two Taylors and for the Cathedral Precentor (the Rev. Howard Field), who has a flat in the deanery, keeping rooms spic-and-span would be a problem. Set high above the Adelaide Street cutting, the deanery is never away from city noise and dust, lies right in the path of smoke from river shipping. When an easterly wind blows, the smells of the nearby brewery spread right across the cathedral grounds. For cheerful Monsignor Leo Carlton, administrator of St. Stephen's Cathedral for the last 13 years, the next six months will combine business and pleasure. With Father D. Cremin, of Ashgrove, he will leave by air in a fortnight to visit Roman Catholic churches and shrines in Europe and India. The two priests will go to Ireland. Scotland, most of the European countries, will make pilgrimages to Lourdes, Fatima, Jerusalem. On their return trip they will see Cardinal Gracias at Bombay, inspect mission education in India and Ceylon.

Less religious aspects of their trip will be watching he famous Dublin Horse Show, gathering the latest information on teaching domestic science and commercial work overseas. Closely associated with the organisation of the Corpus Christi procession each year. Consignor Carlton is also prominent in the Holy Name and St Vincent de Paul societies, is chaplain to the Catholic Daughters of Australia, and helps the work of the Catholic Deaf and Dumb circle.

Founded parish.

He founded the Coolangatta parish, established churches at Burleigh Heads. Springbrook, Currumbin Creek, found time in between to be the first Nudgee College Old Boys' president. A well-loved figure in the playground of St Stephen's School, he tries to spend a part of each morning watching the children. Yesterday the children presented him with a leather writing case, sang well rehearsed songs to farewell him on his trip.

Sixty thousand programmes have been distributed in Brisbane in the last week in preparation for the Methodist Mission to the Nation, which will begin on Sunday in the City Hall. Other publicity ideas to bring the mission to public notice are 16 young Methodists who will carry sandwich boards with the notice 'I'm a Walker for Walker,' and the use of advertising bv newspapers, radio, and trams. The Rev. Alan Walker, the dynamic speaker who leads the mission, has described it as 'a part of the Christian Church going to the whole nation with the whole message of the Christian faith.'


This residence, originally known as Adelaide House, was constructed for Dr William Hobbs who arrived in Brisbane in May 1849 as the ship's surgeon on board the Chasely, the second of Reverend John Dunmore Lang's immigrant ships. Hobbs was a prominent medical figure. In 1853 Hobbs commissioned Andrew Petrie to build a two storey house on a hill overlooking the river.

When Sir George Bowen was appointed Queensland's first Governor in 1859, Government House was still being planned. As an interim measure, Adelaide House was rented by the government for £350 per year, as the Governor's residence. On 10 December 1859, the proclamation creating the colony of Queensland was read by Bowen on the first floor balcony of Adelaide House where he was sworn in as Governor by Judge Lutwyche. On the completion of Government House in lower George Street in 1862, Dr Hobbs returned with his family to Adelaide House.

In the 1880s excavations for the extension of Adelaide Street destroyed Dr Hobbs's garden and left the house close to the steep cutting, prompting the family to move in 1883. From 1883 until 1899 the property was let to various tenants and for a period was used as a day school and later a boarding house.

In 1899, the property was acquired by the Church of England and was used as a Church Institute, a book depot and Diocesan Registry. With the construction of Church House (QHR 600077) in 1909, Adelaide House was renovated and the verandahs, to a design of Robin Dods, were added. After the consecration of St John's Cathedral (QHR 600076) in 1910, Adelaide House became the residence for the Dean and known as The Deanery.

Alterations and renovations costing £4,000 were undertaken in 1954. Also a double garage was built, replacing the coach house and stables. The Dean moved into the northern section of the building and the Precentor occupied the southern half. Recently, the Precentor moved to nearby St Martins House (QHR 600075).

Courtesy of Queensland Heritage Register


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