Queensland Religious Places

How this project developed

The project began as leisurely pursuit. It began when I started traveling around Queensland undertaking heritage studies and surveys as a sideline, I began photographing churches. I thought they are buildings not often photographed and just to make a record of what could be potentially useful. Nothing very systematic but just when the occasion arose would do at least some of the churches in a town or city. Also in doing a number of local government heritage surveys, places of worship were identify churches with heritage significance.

The second aspect of this 'hobby' was to to develop an online database. After setting up my own website, I began dabbling in coding with PHP. I found a useful program based on PHP that made it possible to set up a online database. That worked for about ten years but a couple of years ago that program stopped working due to upgrades. So I decided to built my own database using PHP. So this is what is here now. I also discovered a very useful tool for creating online maps called Leaflet.

As the project developed I became aware of other researchers and enthusiasts that had material that could contribute to the datebase. But more importantly I realised that a comprehensive dataset could have enormous potential in researhicng and analsysing religion in Queensland


The aim is to record all - existing, demolished, converted to other uses - religious places. This includes all faiths and the only limitation that private chapels are not considered

Each record in the database contains these fields:

  • Image
  • Original Name
  • Denomination/religion
  • Location - town/suburb based on current official name
  • Address
  • Postcode
  • Date of construction
  • GPS location
  • Architect
  • Other/ later name
  • Source/s of information
  • Second image
  • Keywords - building material, architectural style, key attributes such as cemetery, pipe organ or stained glassed windows
  • Status - open, closed, demolished, other use
  • Date of closure or demolition
  • Size
  • Sitting - no of seats
  • Cost
  • Local Government Area
A remarkable array of sources that make this project more achievable and comprehensive
  • Theses - Several excellent theses completed in the Department of Architecture such as by Ian Ferrier and Lisa Andersen
  • Websites - the obvious denominational sites, but others such as abandoned buildings, David Horton and Kerry Raymond website, Organ Historical Trust of Australia.
  • Local histories - numerous - paritcularly useful include AE Hermann, The Development of Rockhampton and District; Colin Pfeffer, The Fassifern Story; John Kerr, Black snow and Liquid Gold, the history of Burdekin Shire; JE Murphy & EW Easton Wilderness to Wealth.
  • Denominational histories including RSC Dingle Annuals of Achievement: a review of Queensland Methodism 1847-1947, R Bardon on the Presbyterian Church The Centenary history of the Presbyterian Church in Queensland and John Macquire A history of the Catholic Church as seen from Townsville 1863-1983.
  • Church building histories/registers including Clare Hickey, Archdiocese of Brisbane: Churches mass centres and parishes 1843-2004, and Peter Weiss, Short General and Statistical History of the Australian Lutheran Church.
  • QImagery - online historical aerial photographs of Queensland - very useful for dating from the 1960s onwards.
  • Google maps - street view - historical street view. Google maps have been photographing Queensland street since 2008 and some of this imagery has proved to be invaluable and it had recorded images of buildings now demolished.
  • Libraries and archives SLQ - image collection, Archives
  • Denominational year books, minutes of annual meetings
  • Existing databases - John Huth
  • Trove - digtised newspapers - an obvious and invaluable source - not really possible to date many building without Trove - remarkable how the opening of many places of worship are mentioned in Trove


Some of the aims/outcomes

  • Enable easy access to basic information about a place of worship or places of worship in a locality.
  • Enhance an understanding of religious places in Queensland including the number of places - more than 4800 places recorded
  • The location - how widespread
  • The diversity of religious practice in Queensland -
  • Denominational/faith characteristics - concentration of particular faiths in different parts of the state - where and where not. Mapping sites with GIS is readily doable with a GPS location for every building.
  • Timeline - what were the distinctive eras of building
A collaborative project

This project has benefited greatly from the collective efforts or numerous individuals. John Huth developed an database of Queensland churches from street directories and searching google maps. His most significant contribution is the more than 1200 images of Queensland churches that he has taken in the past ten years (350 images in 2018 alone).

Kerry Raymond has make an invaluable contribution to the database. Kerry has researched and authored numerous Wikepedia articles on Queensland topics, in particular Queensland towns and cities and has used these skills and experience in adding to and correcting entries. Her ability to not only thoroughly research digitised newspapers but all parts of the web for obscure references has enriched the entries in the database.