Heritage Plaque Project

The Heritage Plaque Project is an activity of Baptist Heritage Qld designed to highlight the historical significance of locations and buildings which have played a key role in the development of Baptist witness in Queensland, focusing at first on the Brisbane CBD. It involves placing bronze plaques on buildings and sites, with the support of the current owners, giving brief details of the role played by the location in Baptist life. It is funded by either the Society or the church or a combination. Enquiries are welcome.

The first two plaques were installed before the main project got underway and were the inspiration for it.

The first was to commemorate the United Evangelical Church which was led by Baptist minister, Rev Charles Stewart, from which the Baptist, Congregationalist and some Presbyterian churches emerged. This plaque was placed by a joint committee of those three denominations which was formed to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the Lang migrant ships in 1849. Charles Stewart was a chaplain on the ‘Fortitude’ and the many devout evangelical Christians recruited by Dr John Dunmore Lang did so much to develop Brisbane and the Protestant churches.

The background to placing of the second plaque was more informal, being almost entirely the result of the efforts of R A (Dick) Scanlan OAM, of Laidley, a highly active member of the Baptist Heritage Qld, who had taken a particular interest in the German Baptist history in Queensland. He purchased and placed a plaque at the probable site of the German Baptist church at Vernor near Fernvale.

After some time, the Heritage Plaque Project proper was conceived and commenced, with the placement of a large plaque on the Toowong Baptist Church, the oldest existing building still used for church purposes. Others then followed at the City Tabernacle, Windsor Road, North-East (marking the site of the former Nundah Baptist Church and indirectly the Fortescue Street Baptist Church) and most recent of all, at 38 Wharf Street, Brisbane, marking the site of the first Baptist church building in Brisbane, Wharf Street, which is continued by the City Tabernacle.

There are hopes for plaques to be placed at other Baptist church locations around city including Edward Street, Petrie Terrace, ‘Jireh’ at Gipps Street and Vulture Street in South Brisbane. These would join those previously placed under the Heritage Plaque Project and also those buildings and sites that already have plaques (such as the former Ipswich Baptist Church in Brisbane Street).

This presentation features the key facts about the churches commemorated so far and the plaques installed under the Project.