Walter Taylor’s Graceville Uniting Church FREE Open House: A Structure of Hope during Australia’s Troubling Time

Walk along Graceville’s Oxley Road and there you’ll see the beautiful Graceville Uniting Church. It was designed and built by Walter Taylor, a small man renowned for his big dreams and incredible structures, one of which is the Indooroopilly toll bridge that was later renamed in his honor. Just like the said bridge, the church in Graceville was constructed in a cost-efficient manner. It was a building of hope built during the terrible time of Australia’s “Great Depression”.

FREE Open House Tour

Mr Taylor’s heritage-listed church, one of Brisbane’s beloved structures at present, will be included in the Brisbane Open House scheme this 7th (Saturday) and 8th (Sunday) October 2017. In 2016, about 100 best buildings in Brisbane were open for public exploration. Among them are famous structures like the Masonic Memorial Temple, St John’s Cathedral, Ecosciences Precinct, Fort Lytton Historic Military Precinct, Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium, and Walter Taylor Bridge. Click here for the full list.

The Brisbane Open House is a FREE annual event successfully launched in 2010. It provides residents and tourists with “the rare opportunity to discover the hidden wealth of architecture, engineering and history in buildings and places” all around Brisbane. Basically, it gives everyone a “behind-the-scenes” to some of the most beautiful structures in Brisbane. Open House Ambassador Darren Lockyer, along with his team, believes events such as this would “foster civic engagement and civic pride.”

Click here to contact the Open House team for inquiries.


Walter Taylor’s Structure of Hope

Now proudly standing in Graceville’s 215 Oxley Road, the beautiful church made by Mr Taylor was once an ongoing structure seemingly built for hope. It was generously constructed by voluntary labour, along with donated cash and materials, in the period of the country’s “Great Depression”. Despite the hard times, Mr Taylor’s heartfelt desire to build the church was deeply supported by the community.

Graceville Uniting Church
Hope springs in terrible times. Walter Taylor’s beautiful church stands tall and holy. Photo Credit: Lost Brisbane/Facebook

A devoted Methodist during his time, Mr Taylor incorporated bits of his faith in the church’s design. There are 33 buttresses outside the church recognising Jesus’ 33 years of mortal life on earth before he was crucified. The three candle-shaped windows between each buttress represent the Holy Trinity – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Four panels separate these windows, each representing the Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The 12 windows that run down the sides of the church stand for the apostles.

Graceville Uniting Church
An inspiration to every church goer, Walter Taylor’s faith can be seen in every corner of the church. Photo Credit: Kris Gall via Brisbane Open House/Facebook

One notable issue during the church’s construction was that it was built over a naturally passing spring. The original timber flooring was eventually replaced when it was easily rotted by the water. A pump was then placed in the basement to keep the water out and the flooring was made into raked concrete covered in tiles. At first, many resented the idea of building the church in its current location given the natural spring below it. Many years later, however, the remarkably well-engineered Graceville Uniting Church still stands proud and beautiful.

Click here for service times in the Graceville Uniting Church.


Mr Taylor’s innovative ways and incomparable Gothic designs were breakthroughs on the Methodist architecture in the interwar years. He never had any formal training in his chosen industry. He learned all about architecture, construction, and engineering “on the job” at his father’s construction business. Powered by nothing but passion and experience, he inspired many by making people’s lives easier with his useful projects.  Those impressive structures he built during his lifetime have been so well-appreciated by everyone, even until today.