From Hilltop Landmarks to Suburban Place Makers: Brisbane’s Post-War Religious Territories and Communities

Lisa Marie Daunt*, Janina Gosseye

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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This paper examines the shifting urban and architectural manifestations of Christian churches built in twentieth century Brisbane, the capital of Queensland and the third most populous city in Australia. In doing so, it considers how religious communities contributed to the formation of Brisbane’s modern cityscape. Based on texts published in the journals of Brisbane’s four largest Christian denominations, a chronological mapping of the development of the city’s religious territories from 1945 to 1977, and an architectural analysis of a select number of Brisbane churches, this paper demonstrates how during the post-war era Brisbane’s Churches shifted their urban planning approach from representational hilltop landmarks to community centres, and their architectural manifestation from grand (modern) monuments to suburban place makers. It also discusses what urban and community building strategies were pursued in this multi-denominational religious territory, and how this affected church architecture. While comparable shifts did occur elsewhere, both abroad and interstate, the paper argues that Brisbane, with its hilly topography, property-oriented religious leaders, and lack of government-funded community infrastructures, heightened opportunities for the Churches to use modern architecture and urban planning to express their faith and social values.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-110
Number of pages31
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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