The Coorparoo Gospel Chapel demonstrates the diversity of religious belief in Brisbane prior to World War II and has an association of more than 65 years with the Christian Brethren Assembly of Coorparoo. It is a timber and tile building which exhibits gable, window shade and door features popular during the interwar period. Overall its clean lines reflect the teachings of the church with an emphasis on simplicity providing a good example of a Gospel Hall place of worship.
Local Heritage Place Since —
Date of Citation —
Roof: Terracotta tile; Walls: Timber
the Christian Brethren Assembly of Coorparoo (Association); Volunteer Labour (Builder)
The original land parcel on which the hall is sited was purchased from the New South Wales government in 1857 by James Stevens who purchased three adjoining blocks in the Coorparoo area which he farmed. After his death in 1878 and several sales thereafter, the land was subdivided into suburban blocks and sold from 1888 onwards.
Although the original land portions in this area were first sub-divided in the 1880s, the area was not fully developed until the Interwar period, around the time of the incorporation of the Shire of Coorparoo within the Brisbane City Council. The extension of the tram service to Coorparoo Junction in 1915 facilitated sales and development of land adjacent to Old Cleveland Road. The further extension of separate tram services up Chatsworth Road and Cavendish Road facilitated development during the Interwar years.
Subdivisions 20 to 23 of Re-subdivision 14 were sold to Evan Leslie Rees in 1924. In 1938 subdivisions 22 and 23 were purchased by the Queensland Stewards’ Company, which then leased the site to the Coorparoo Brethren Assembly.
This non-conformist religious group built the chapel with voluntary labour by the congregation in 1938-39. Since then they have held their religious services and meetings at this location.
The Brethren movement began in the 1830s in Britain with a desire to return to the simplicity of apostolic worship; as a protest against other churches’ prevailing clericalism, spiritual dryness and formalism; and with a strong expectation that Christ would soon return. Christian Brethren have had a strong evangelistic and missionary emphasis. As with many religious faiths, immigration to British colonies during the nineteenth century saw the Brethren established in Australia and elsewhere around the globe. The original movement has since splintered into several factions, including the Exclusive Brethren and the Open or Christian Brethren.
Today, a much smaller congregation continues to use the Gospel Chapel for their religious devotions.
This interwar chapel is rectangular in plan form with an attached wide entry porch on the north-eastern side. The structure is timber framed and clad with timber weatherboards. It is built on stumps with an exterior painted masonry base infilled with cross-hatched battens. (Original concrete stumps have been replaced by RHS stumps). It has a low-pitched tiled roof. The front boundary is delineated by a rough-cast painted masonry fence piers with wire fencing mesh.
The slope of the land away from the front of the building has been utilised by enclosing underneath the building with the same cladding used for the chapel but with later style timber casement windows.
The single porch entry doors, one on either side, are high-waisted with a porthole glass window. Double casement window sets along the sides and front of the building have horizontal window shades with decorative brackets. Two rows of windows sited within the gables of the porch and building front have been boarded up since 1991 to appear as batten gable end walls with shingle-style decoration.
Statement of significance
Relevant assessment criteria
This is a place of local heritage significance and meets one or more of the local heritage criteria under the Heritage planning scheme policy of the Brisbane City Plan 2014. It is significant because:
The place is important in demonstrating the evolution or pattern of the city's or local area’s history
as a pre-World War II place of worship in Coorparoo which demonstrates the evolving diversity of religious belief in Brisbane during this period.
The place is important in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a particular class or classes of cultural places
as an example of a non-conformist gospel hall whose clean lines and restrained detailing reflect the teachings of the Christian Brethren with its emphasis on simplicity.
Apperly, Richard, Robert Irving and Peter Reynolds. A Pictorial Guide to Identifying Australian Architecture: Styles and Terms from 1788 to the Present. North Ryde: Angus & Robertson, 1989
BCC Water Supply and Sewerage detail plans, building cards
Brisbane City Council Heritage Unit. East Brisbane/ Coorparoo Character and Heritage Study. Brisbane: Heritage Unit, BCC, 1995
Dept. of Natural Resources and Mines. Titles information
Information provided by Mr Neville Wheat, Secretary, Coorparoo Assembly by letter 30 August 2004
Queensland Post Office Directories
Rowland Crouch, John Mark Ministries ‘Brethren’ at http://jmm.aaa.net.au/articles/8211.htm
Citation prepared by — Brisbane City Council (page revised September 2020)