Tingalpa pioneers built their “bush cathedral” in 1868. It was known by this name as the area was sparsely populated. Funds for the building of the church were raised locally and overseas. A substantial amount came from the parishioners of the church at Bisham, a town about 40 kilometres west of London in the UK. Some of those same Bisham parishioners made the journey to Queensland and established themselves at Tingalpa.
An end of an era
In 1885 the hand of God intervened in a spectacular way. A cyclone or severe storm completely demolished the church. The present, smaller, chapel was built from materials recovered from the wreckage. Over time new settlements beyond Tingalpa at Manly, Wynnum, Bulimba and other areas were established. While these areas thrived, Tingalpa’s population slowly declined and attendances at the church fell away.
The Anglicans decommissioned the old chapel in 1996 and it was stripped for demolition. But heritage listing saved it from destruction. However, heritage listing did not save it from being unwanted. At that time it was kept locked and became a target for termites and vandals.
A new beginning
Under the indomitable leadership of Mrs Jackie Butler, the Friends of Tingalpa Cemetery Heritage Group Inc. was formed in 2002. They set about restoring the derelict little chapel, to care for the pioneers’ graves, and to record the lives and times of the pioneers themselves. Some 100 unrecorded burials were discovered, and the complete burial register will be available to search on this site very shortly.
And a future
Thanks to the efforts of voluntary labour over the years, generous grants and the cooperation of the Anglican Church, restoration of the chapel has been completed. The chapel is now available for small ecumenical weddings. The site is also intended to be used as a place where students, youth groups and others can discover a little about what life was like in the late 1800s in Brisbane.