A reproduction of a painting from 1880 showing the church property in Vulture Street, overlooking the Brisbane River.
Inside the old church building on a Sunday morning, circa 1960's.
The old church building in Vulture Street, South Brisbane, in 1963.
After the fire of 1982 the church was rebuilt.
This photo from 2005 shows the church just before considerable high-rise residential development started squeezing it out.
The Stanley Street entrance to the main ministry building shortly after we relocated and renovated in 2013 (and before the high-rise residential units were built next door).
The church is located directly across Stanley Street from the world-famous "Gabba" cricket ground (also, the home of the Brisbane Lions AFL club).
Admiring the spectacular mural in the Stanley Street entrance.
This graphically communicates our church mission...To Love GOD, Love LIFE and Love PEOPLE.
Church@TheGabba has been in its present location for only nine years. However, prior to moving into the Stanley Street premises, the church (under various names but always the same church entity) had a very long and lively history in the adjoining suburb of South Brisbane.
Ministry to the (southern Brisbane) area began, officially, in 1872 when a small group of local residents, who had already been ministering informally in the area, formed the Vulture Street Baptist Church, later to become the South Brisbane Baptist Church. They commenced worship services in the Mechanics Institute, however, within a year a decision was made to purchase a property in Vulture Street, South Brisbane. This turned out to be a wise decision as major flooding in 1893 covered the alternative property in Grey Street! Subsequent floods have confirmed the initial wisdom of the pioneers.
In 1878 the gas lighting system was installed, replacing the kerosene lamps. Over the years building expansions and enhancements took place to accommodate the growing membership at the church. Over time a number of other churches were to grow out of the membership of the church, but there has always been a deep commitment to serving the local communities of South Brisbane, West End, Kangaroo Point, Woolloongabba and East Brisbane.
The church has been very involved in numerous evangelistic, missionary and outreach activities, as well as with organizations such as Boys Brigade, Christian Endeavour, Prison Fellowship, and the early years of the Russian Baptist church.
Throughout the years a number of pastors at the church were involved in lecturing at the Queensland Baptist College, then located in the West End area. Subsequently many have gone on to serve as lecturers at the Queensland Baptist College of Ministries (now known as Malyon College located at Mitchelton). A number of ministers and church leaders have also served the Baptist denomination well in various other leadership roles.
In mid-1982 an electrical fault caused a fire in the church, which seriously damaged the building. However, repairs were completed in time for the Christmas services later that year, and the ministry of the church continued virtually uninterrupted.
The church property, situated on a hill overlooking the southern shore of the Brisbane River, was located immediately adjacent to the Brisbane Expo site.
Since this wonderful event in 1988, there has been a massive redevelopment of the Expo site with many major cultural buildings being constructed.
The South Bank Parkland area quickly became one of the most popular places for family gatherings in Brisbane. It is also renowned for the many other musical and cultural events that meet a rapidly growing modern city's needs. The Parklands have complemented the Queensland Cultural Centre, the Queensland State Library, the Museum, and the Maritime Museum, that grace the southern Brisbane River shoreline.
Reflecting the desire of the church to be more closely associated with the local area, the church once more changed its name in 2005, this time to South Bank Baptist Church. A new slogan was also adopted that year… “Building Bridges, Across the City and Across the World.”
The new name and slogan were a part of the renewed vision of the church, ushering in a new and exciting era and focus of ministry…International Students.
This new ministry focus was complemented by a proposed property development using the properties (wisely purchased back in the 1960’s) for student accommodation. With ageing buildings needing very costly attention, but being positioned on very valuable land, the church investigated ways that it could partner with property developers on a project that would provide a modern, multi-use building for the church and residential units for the increasing population of the fast-developing area.
Unfortunately, due to the effects of the global financial crisis on the building industry at that time, these plans were not able to proceed.
However, the church still needed to do something. Old buildings needing major repairs and maintenance, and a ministry base that had been steadily diminishing over the years because of the area’s high-rise development prompted the church to consider selling its property and relocating…still in the same area if possible.
Thus began a property search that led to the church purchasing its large property in Stanley Street, Woolloongabba.
The process of the search, the selling and purchasing of properties, and the wonderful ministry opportunities that the church now has in its new location, have all been a testimony to the gracious and faithful guidance and provision of our Lord.
The church now owns and operates from a large, renovated building on a property with an incredible location. This property has a three street frontage, including the major arterial road, Stanley Street. Just across the road from the world-famous Gabba stadium (test cricket venue and home of the Brisbane Lions AFL team), the church is in the middle of an area rapidly changing and developing into one of Australia's foremost inner-city suburbs.
The property also includes a number of buildings that are commercially leased, providing a further means of generating income to support ministry and mission, both locally and internationally.
The ministry of the church, started almost 150 years ago, continues to reach out and share a Hope for the future to the local communities of Woolloongabba, South Brisbane, Highgate Hill, West End, Kangaroo Point and East Brisbane.
Through many years, several name changes, and a relocation, the church has continued to develop...it is now very much a contemporary, international family church with a big heart and a God-sized vision.
As Church@TheGabba becomes “the heart of the community” we pray that we will continue to build on the past as we faithfully fulfil our vision and purpose…to Love God, Love Life and Love People.