The Anglican Church of St Augustine’s Hamilton was built as a thank-offering to God for deliverance and peace, and as a War Memorial Church to the valour, sacrifice and endurance of Australian men and women who served in the Great War.
By the end of the hostilities, Australia had the highest casualty rate of the Allied Forces. Unable to lay loved ones to rest at home, Australians expressed their grief by erecting war memorials.
This beautiful church is an imposing two-story brick building set in leafy grounds on Racecourse Road, nick-named the ‘Jewel Box’ for its stunning stained-glass windows. After World War II a series of stained-glass windows were installed as a memorial to those who died in that war, including fifty-two parishioners. A prominent Queensland artist, William Bustard, designed the windows. The church is a war memorial commemorating both world wars. The tower was added to the church in 1961, dedicated to the men and women who served in World War II.
Different sections of the church represent different branches of the armed forces. The main body is a memorial to the Army, the organ loft to the Navy and the bell tower to the Air Force. In the area under the church is a Chapel, which is also a Columbarium. This chapel is open during the day for private prayer and reflection.
There are several historic texts on the church – refer to University of Queensland Library as a source. Acknowledgements to Brisbane Courier, & Brisbane City Council.
The Tower Bell
The church bell is a prominent feature of the building and reminds us of war memorials. It is also used for the celebration of weddings.
When the church bell rings at the start of a service, we acknowledge a moment of silence as we join with churches around the country in a time of worship, giving thanks to God.
The Memorial Bell
It is believed the bell dates back to 320AD, that Emperor Constantine hung the bell in a Romanian Church. During the First World War, British soldiers buried it in the beach, then seen by Australian soldiers who dug it up and took it on to Captain Thomson’s ship. It was received by the Diocese of Brisbane and given to St Augustine’s in the 1920s. The bell was stolen in 1978, and later returned from the Brisbane courts in 2000.
The bell plaque reads, ‘The Eastern Church Bell, rescued by the Allies in 1918 from a ruined mosque, is here restored to Christian use in memory of the HEROIC DEAD, being the gift of Capt. and Mrs. W. Campbell Thomson’.