BORN AGAIN: The church as it stands today after the renovations earlier this year.
BORN AGAIN: The church as it stands today after the renovations earlier this year. The Church Events Venue

Historic building founded in 1893 brought back to life

A BELOVED Rockhampton building has been lovingly restored to its former glory with a touch of modern class.

The former St Andrew's Presbyterian Church on the corner of Bolsover and Derby St was closed in October 2002.

It was reported in then that the building was structurally unsound and the church was closed.

The congregation at the time moved to the old Rockhampton cinema building, which later became known as the Rockhampton Presbyterian Church.

The historic building was put up for sale to the public and Rockhampton business couple, Karl and Georgina Schamburg became the lucky owners.


Georgina and Karl Shamburg at The Church Events Venue.
Owners Georgina and Karl Schamburg at The Church Events Venue. Allan Reinikka ROK060918athechur

The church became the home for All About House, a furniture store the Schamburgs owned.

After six years, they sold the business and it moved to another location.

The Schamburgs went on to open hospitality businesses, including The Ginger Mule and The Giddy Goat.

Then, this year, they sold The Giddy Goat and they had some free time.

"We had an opportunity where we weren't working and we wanted to fix (the church) up," Karl said.

They spent the last six months working on the church, fixing it up and doing some re-mediation work inside.


In an outside courtyard they installed an octagonal pavilion with landscaped lawns, bathroom facilities and a kitchen.

The renovations haven't taken away from the building's beautiful history.

It was painted back to the original colours, taking it back to the way it was.

"Everything we were doing was lending towards what it originally was, the white picket fence was the way it was in the 1900s," Karl said.

It is now a one-stop shop for weddings and functions.

"People can have the ceremony, move outside, have some drinks in the courtyard, nibbles, we reset the room and have the reception inside," Georgina said.

Since being closed to events for over 15 years, the community has been very excited to see the church brought back to life.


"We've had a lot of the old congregation dropping in while we have been doing work and they are happy we are fixing it up and it is loved again," Karl said.

The church itself is more than special, from the stunning 12-metre high, arched timber ceiling to the Gothic arched stained glass windows and the breathtakingly exquisite, more than 100 year-old hand crafted organ.

"It is a bit of heritage for Rocky," Georgina said.

"It's good to see the old buildings in Rocky being used again in a modern way."

"It is one of the oldest churches, just the detail and decoration of that organ, the size of it is unique," Karl said.

"The detail in the timber ceiling, the trusses and everything inside, you can't build it now."


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This timber church was constructed on the corner of Derby Street and Bolsover Street and opened on 27 July 1862.
The original timber church that was on the corner of Derby Street and Bolsover Street and opened on 27 July 1862. ARCHIVES


THE former St Andrew's Presbyterian Church has an incredible history in Rockhampton's past.

The church was constructed in 1893 for the Presbytery of Rockhampton. It officially opened on April 15, 1894.

The Rockhampton Presbytery was established in 1865, the first Presbyterian congregation to establish itself so far north in Queensland.

The construction of the building reflects the prominence the Presbyterian community had in early Rockhampton.


Twenty-four plans were submitted to architects Voller and Graham in Brisbane for the site.

The construction was overseen by prominent Rockhampton architect John William Wilson.

It was built during a time of immense wealth in the region as gold mining had just taken off in Mount Morgan.

The church construction was funded by Mount Morgan Gold Mining trustee and millionaire, William Pattison. He gave the Presbytery £1000 towards construction.

In 1894, the St Andrew's congregation attained a loan of £800, granted to the trustees of William Burns, William Pattison and Alexander Meikle.

It was one of only two Presbyterian Churches, including Ann St, Brisbane, that was owned by the trustees of the church, not the Presbyterian Church of Queensland.

The foundation stone for the building was laid on June 7, 1893 by Mrs Peter McIntosh, the daughter of William J Brown, the founder of the Presbyterian church in Rockhampton.

The editor and joint owner of The Bulletin, William McIlwraith, read a brief history of events in Rockhampton. A copy of this and sermons by Dr Hay's address to the General Assembly in 1891, was laid in a bottle under the foundation stone.


St Andrew's Presbyterian Church, circa 1912
DOWN MEMORY LANE: The St Andrew's Presbyterian Church, circa 1912. It was one of the first churches built in Rockhampton. ARCHIVES

The building was originally constructed with tuck-pointed face brickwork in stone rendered facings.

Inside, the walls were painted a dark French grey, the channel arch and window facings were pure white, pews made of Queensland pine and there were two sun lights.

The interior remained unfinished until the pipe organ was installed and officially opened on June 29, 1900. The organ was built by Sydney organisation Charles Richardson & Co, to the specifications of St Andrew's organist, Frank Kavanagh, and designs by LS Robertson.


Former St Andrew's Presbyterian Church in the 1990s.
Former St Andrew's Presbyterian Church in the 1990s. Howard Baker


In 1925-26, the building required underpinning due to foundation movement.

A Sunday School concrete building was officially opened on July 18, 1836, adjacent to St Andrew's Hall.

In 1939 the congregation approved a plan to render the exterior of the church, and an appeal was launched in 1940 to pay for it.

In 1947 a choir room was built and the fixtures and fittings were changed to allow for a new position for the pulpit, communion furniture and choir seats.

Between 1947 and 1971 the stained glass windows were installed.

Significant work was undertaken in 1984 including a concrete apron around the exterior, a new roof and floor, installing additional tie rods, a repaint and the removal of the Bell Tower.

The building was listed as State Heritage on October 21, 1992.