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News > From the Archives > The Sisters’ Chapel

The Sisters’ Chapel

As Old Girls, many of you will have attended services in the Sisters’ Chapel, many will have been married there.

As Old Girls, many of you will have attended services in the Sisters’ Chapel, many will have been married there.

The chapel has an interesting history. The first sod was turned in 1914. During this year, there were three chapels built for the Sisters – one at Tufnell, one at St Michael’s at Clayfield, and one at St Margaret’s. But the one at St Margaret’s was in Mother Emma’s words “…..the most important chapel of all, as around it the Sisters’ life centres”. [Mother’s diary from 1914]. 

Very well-known architect of the time Robin Dods was engaged to design the chapel. Mrs Le Fanu organised an Eastern Bazaar to raise funds for the construction of a chapel. She was the wife of Henry Le Fanu – warden of the SSA, sub dean of the pro-cathedral and as of September 1915 coadjutor-bishop. The Link of 1914 is filled with entries about how successful the Bazaar was, raising a total in the vicinity of £500!

Mr Charles Edward Tute [who in 1914 was the leading stained-glass artist in Brisbane] wrote to Mother Emma with a suggested plan for the various stained-glass windows, but as these did not eventuate, perhaps the cost prohibited their purchase. On June 5, 1915, the chapel was dedicated by Archbishop St Clair Donaldson.

In the ante-chapel, there is a stained glass window representing St Margaret – this was given by one of the fathers of the girls and noted by Mother Emma in her yearly report as being “a beautiful stained-glass window” – but sadly both the name of the father and the window designer are both unknown.

The Chapel was used for school services until 1949 when Eton Hall was built and its Sanctuary extension became the venue for services.

A fire broke out in March 1987, and alerted by a passing taxi driver, the fire brigade arrived promptly and saved the chapel. There had been reports of other arson attacks in the area at this time, but no conclusive evidence was found. The Sisters did try to learn the name of the taxi driver but he remained unidentified. He was remembered in the Sisters’ prayers for a long time afterwards!

There was extensive damage to the sanctuary with the altar, rood cross, altar rails and reredos wall all destroyed. Fundraising efforts by St Margaret’s and St Aidan’s communities as well as the wider community assisted in raising the money required to restore the chapel to its former glory.

Today, the chapel remains a central part of the faith of the school.

St Margaret’s Mysteries

Our Archive Centre is on the hunt for a Sub Prefect badge. It was a narrow silver bar with the small school badge in the middle. Would you have one? If so, please contact Mary Surtees via email msurtees@stmargarets.qld.edu.au or call on (07) 3862 0816.

Per Volar Sunata

Mary Surtees
Archivist

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