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News > Old Boy News > Chapel Centenary

Chapel Centenary

17 May 2024
Old Boy News

Having relocated to East Brisbane in 1918 as the Church of England Grammar School, founding Headmaster Reverend WPF Morris wanted the school to have a chapel as soon as possible. He first needed rooms for classes and dormitories for boarders but saw the school as inadequate without ‘a sanctuary for the higher life of the boys’. A Chapel Building Appeal was formed and funds were gradually raised for the cause. Diocesan architects HW Atkinson and AH Conrad were engaged to design a chapel to resemble a small English parish church and seat a congregation of 250. It was designed in Gothic Scholastic architectural style with the interior roof to represent an up-turned Viking Longship. The foundation stone was laid by Archbishop Gerald Sharp on 1 August 1923.

Built on the highest point of the school grounds, it was the fifth building constructed on the site (following School House, the Club Hut, The Box and The Brick) but only the second permanent building. Two returned soldiers from The Great War (WW I) laid all the bricks and proudly refused to go to another worksite until all the masonry was completed. On Sunday 4 May 1924, the chapel was consecrated as the Canon Jones Memorial Chapel by Archbishop Gerald Sharp. Named in honour of Canon Thomas Jones (1836-1918), a pioneer priest in Queensland, who was a mentor and friend to the founder Rev WPF Morris. Like Morris, he had visions of a great Anglican school emerging from the small beginnings and was a supporter of the school when it began as St Magnus Hall Collegiate School for Boys at Toowong in 1912.

On Saturday 4 May 2024 the centenary of the Canon Jones Memorial Chapel was commemorated, giving thanks for the chapel in the life of our school throughout the last 100 years. Reverend Canon Sarah Plowman, a former associate Chaplain at Churchie and bishop-elect, gave the address. Sarah shared her experience of the chapel, saying: “What has always struck me about this space is that it is not formed by mere bricks and mortar, wood and glass, but it is a space shaped and made holy by the prayers of the many thousands of souls who have passed through these doors and sat on these pews. There is a special spirit about a school chapel that goes beyond being a place for ceremony and ritual. It’s a place for honesty and vulnerability, to bring hopes and dreams.”

Over the years, many generous benefactions, gifts and memorials have added to the interior of the chapel. During the service, thanks was given for the fabric of the chapel, the symbols and gifts. There were prayers for the generations of staff and Old Boys and their families who have celebrated baptisms, confirmations, marriages and life’s end. Hymns of praise were sung to remember the life of Canon Jones and his friendship with Canon Morris.

School Archivist – Mr Peter Collin
Senior Chaplain – Reverend Sharon Mitchell

Chapel (interior) – courtesy of Graham Isbell (1958)

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