A Journey Through the History of the Bardon Pilgrim Congregational Church

One of the most iconic places in Bardon is the heritage-listed Bardon Pilgrim Congregational Church at Simpsons Road. Let’s reflect on its remarkable journey – from its humble beginnings in the early 1900s to its enduring legacy as a cornerstone of the community.

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History and Architecture

The story begins with the visionaries of Bardon, individuals like HM King and ES Thompson, who recognised the need for a Protestant church amidst the growing community.

Their determination led to a bold decision – the Queensland Congregational Union suggested relocating an existing Congregational church from Cannon Hill to Bardon in 1927, given that they were willing to pay the cost involved. This act of faith and perseverance laid the foundation for the church’s enduring legacy.

The Queensland Congregational Union was established in 1861 under the Religious Educational and Charitable Institutions Act of the same year, with Congregationalists active in Queensland since 1853. The organisation has been involved in providing out-of-home care for children since 1929. In June 1977, the Australian Congregationalists merged with the Presbyterian and Methodist churches to create the Uniting Church of Australia.

Photo credit: Pilgrim Congregational Church/Facebook 

The relocation of the church was no small feat, requiring considerable financial investment and community support. The plan received complete approval, even though the cost of relocating the building back then was calculated to be £136, and the overall expense of setting up the church was estimated to be £500.

Bardon Pilgrim Congregational Church
Photo credit: Pilgrim Congregational Church/Facebook 

The structure itself was believed to be constructed during the early 1900s, given that it’s a modest example of a Federation Carpenter Gothic church, which was very common during this period. Its aesthetic appeal derived from its clean, simple design and picturesque, leafy surroundings, lending it a shady aspect.

Photo credit: Pilgrim Congregational Church/Facebook 

The church was founded in Bardon during a period of rapid population growth. In 1903, Ithaca Shire had 3000 residents, but by 1922, this had increased more than sevenfold, making it easier to establish community services like churches. Before the late 1880s, Bardon residents had to travel to Paddington, Rosalie, or Milton for church services as there were none available locally.

Milestones Along the Way

Bardon Pilgrim Congregational Church
Photo credit: Google Street View 

Over the decades, the Bardon Pilgrim Congregational Church bore witness to numerous milestones, each marking a chapter in its rich history. 

From the stump capping ceremony in 1927, attended by the Deputy Mayor of Brisbane Alderman A A Matson, to the poignant unveiling of a centenary plaque in 2014, the church stood as a silent witness to the passage of time and the enduring spirit of faith.

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Enduring Legacy

As it approaches its centennial in three years, the Bardon Pilgrim Congregational Church stands as more than just a place of worship – it is a living testament to the resilience, faith, and community spirit of its founders. For nearly a century, it has been a beacon of hope and solace for generations of parishioners, leaving an indelible mark on the tapestry of Bardon’s history.

Published 6-June-2024