St. Luke's


The first Anglican clergyman to travel to the Darling Downs after the area of Moreton Bay was opened to free settlement was the Reverend John Gregor. He visited station properties on several occasions, before his untimely death by drowning.

Gregor was succeeded by the Reverend Benjamin Glennie. He had come from England with Bishop Tyrrell to the newly created Diocese of Newcastle. Glennie conducted the first service at Drayton in 1848 and returned as resident Priest in 1850, remaining there until 1860 when he became Rector of Warwick until 1872.


The first service at Toowoomba, then known as the Swamp, was held in 1852. Envisaging further growth there, in 1854 Glennie purchased two acres in Ruthven Street on behalf of the Bishop of Newcastle for £8.4 shillings. That same block is the site of St Luke’s Church.

During 1856, a schoolroom was built to serve as a school during the week and as a centre of worship on Sundays. The site is marked by a memorial stone to the west of the present church. The building was dedicated to St Luke and was the third of Glennie’s 'Evangelist’ churches, following St Matthew’s at Drayton and St Mark’s at Warwick. St John’s at Dalby was to follow. Truly, Glennie can be regarded as the Apostle of the Downs.


In 1867, with the arrival of the railway from Ipswich, the centre of the town moved in the direction of the station and the new parish church of St James was built in Mort Street in 1869.


Services at St Luke’s ceased for some years. However, there was a revival in the 1880s and, as a result, the district of St Luke’s was granted an independent sphere of action under the Reverend John Parry Pugh as Vicar. He saw the need for a large permanent church. The design is due to John Buckeridge, an English architect, who had come to Queensland at the invitation of the third Bishop of Brisbane, Bishop Webber.


The nave, with temporary chancel and vestry, was dedicated in 1897. The subsequent separation of the two parishes of St James’ and St Luke’s came about in 1905.

St Luke’s remained incomplete until 1945 when, under the leadership of Canon Shand, the congregation perceived the vision of a completed church as a War Memorial. The completion of the building proved a huge undertaking and it was not until 1959 that the extensions were dedicated. The south transept still remains to be built.


As the city of Toowoomba has grown, so has the parish and St Luke's is now the mother church of a large area, with daughter churches at All Saints’ in Arthur Street and St Mark’s at Rangeville. The congregation of St Bartholomew’s at Middle Ridge, once part of the St Luke's parish, has grown so rapidly that it is now a separate Parochial District.

From the pamphlet 'The Parish Church of St Luke Toowoomba. A Brief Guide'


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