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Anglican Diocese of Brisbane facts for kids

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Diocese of Brisbane
Coat of arms
Coat of arms
Country Australia
Ecclesiastical province Queensland
Metropolitan Archbishop of Brisbane
  • St Martins House
  • 373 Ann Street
  • Brisbane
Denomination Anglican
  • Book of Common Prayer
  • An Australian Prayer Book
  • A Prayer Book for Australia
Established 1858 (1858)
Cathedral St John's Cathedral, Brisbane
Language English
Current leadership
Parent church Anglican Church of Australia
Archbishop Jeremy Greaves
  • Peter Catt
  • (since 2008)

The Anglican Diocese of Brisbane, also known as Anglican Church Southern Queensland, is based in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. The diocesan bishop's seat is at St John's Cathedral, Brisbane. The diocese stretches from the south-eastern coastline of Queensland, down to the New South Wales border and west to the Northern Territory and South Australian borders. The diocese currently markets itself as "Anglican Church Southern Queensland" (ACSQ). The "Anglicare Southern Queensland" brand is also heavily promoted by the diocese.

The current Archbishop of Brisbane is Jeremy Greaves.

The current assistant bishops are Cameron Venables (Bishop of the Western Region since 2014), John Roundhill (Southern Region since 2018) and Sarah Plowman (Assistant Bishop, Diocese of Brisbane and Bishop for the Northern Region from 2024). On 1 September 2023, Greaves was elected as the next archbishop, and was installed in that position on 16 December 2023.


In 1858, the Brisbane diocese was separated from the Diocese of Newcastle. Until then, the area had been under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Newcastle, William Tyrrell.

In 1859, Queen Victoria appointed the diocese's first bishop, Edward Tufnell (1814–1896). Tufnell designated St John's Cathedral in Brisbane as the pro-cathedral. The central stained glass windows in the apse were donated by Bishop Tufnell. In 1866, there was one archdeaconry: Benjamin Glennie was Archdeacon of Brisbane.

The second bishop was Matthew Hale, who was translated from Perth in 1876. Hale was succeeded by William Webber.

With the creation of the Province of Queensland in 1905, the Diocese of Brisbane became the permanent metropolitan see and its bishop the metropolitan archbishop.


A bishops' house called Bishopsbourne (now Old Bishopsbourne) was built in Milton c. 1865 for Edward Tufnell. It was used by subsequent bishops and archbishops until Archbishop Philip Strong purchased the house Eldernell (formerly Farsley) at 39 Eldernell Street, Hamilton, in 1964, renaming it Bishopsbourne.

In April 2007, then Archbishop Phillip Aspinall sold the Hamilton residence for $11.2 million and moved to a residence in Ascot costing $2.6 million, which has also been renamed Bishopsbourne.


Archbishops of Brisbane

Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane

Assistant bishops

The first co-adjutor bishop for the Brisbane diocese was John Francis Stretch, who was consecrated at St Paul's cathedral in Melbourne in November, 1895. Stretch was the first Australian to be made a bishop for ministry in Australia (and his consecration service was only the second occasion that such a service had happened in Australia at that time). Among the previous assistant bishops of the Diocese of Brisbane were: Henry Le Fanu (bishop coadjutor), who became Archbishop of Perth and Primate of Australia; De Witt Batty (coadjutor, 1930–1931); Horace Henry Dixon (consecrated 29 March 1932 at St John's; coadjutor, 1932–1961); John Hudson served as coadjutor bishop from 1961; Ralph Wicks was consecrated 27 July 1973; Adrian Charles and Bruce Schultz were consecrated on 1 March 1983; George Browning was assistant bishop for the Northern Region, 1985–1992, then for the Coastal Region until he became Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn in 1993; John Noble and Ron Williams were consecrated on 29 June 1993 — Noble served the Northern Region until his 2002 election to North Queensland, and Williams served the Southern until 2007; Ray Smith, Archdeacon of the Downs (Raymond Bruce Smith, not Raymond George Smith) was consecrated 1 November 1996 to serve as assistant bishop for the Western Region; Rob Nolan was consecrated bishop on 27 June 2003 and served the Western Region until 2014; and John Parkes who became the Bishop of Wangaratta. Alison Taylor served as Bishop of the Southern Region from 2013 to 2017 and Sarah Plowman was appointed Bishop of the Northern Region from 2024.

The current assistant bishops are Cameron Venables (Bishop of the Western Region since 2014), Sarah Plowman (Northern Region since 2024) and John Roundhill (Southern Region since 2018).

Bishops Coadjutor and Diocesan-wide Assistant Bishops
From Until Incumbent Notes
1889 1892 Nathaniel Dawes Coadjutor Bishop for Brisbane; Translated to Rockhampton.
1895 1900 John Francis Stretch Coadjutor Bishop for Brisbane; Translated to Newcastle (as bishop-coadjutor; Bishop of Newcastle from 1906).
1915 1929 Henry Le Fanu Coadjutor Bishop for Brisbane; Translated to Perth. Later Primate of Australia.
1930 1931 Francis De Witt Batty Coadjutor Bishop for Brisbane (also Dean of Brisbane from 1925 to 1931); Translated to Newcastle.
1930 1961 Horace Henry Dixon Coadjutor Bishop for Brisbane.
1961 1973 Wilfred John Hudson Coadjutor Bishop for Brisbane. Translated from Carpentaria.
1973 1978 Ralph Edwin Wicks Coadjutor Bishop for Brisbane. Translated to Southern, then Western Regions.
Assistant bishops (Northern Region)
From Until Incumbent Notes
1983 1985 Bruce Schultz Translated to Grafton.
1985 1993 George Browning Translated to Canberra & Goulburn.
1993 1999 John Noble Appointed Assistant Bishop and Director of Ministry Education, 1999–2002; Later Bishop of North Queensland (2002–2007)
1999 2006 Richard Appleby Translated from the Northern Territory. Subsequently, appointed as Bishop Assisting the Primate of Australia.
2006 2016 Jonathan Holland Appointed Assistant Bishop and Director of Ministry Education, 2016–present
2017 Jeremy Greaves Previously Dean of Darwin
2024 present Sarah Plowman Mission Chaplain, Director of Discernment and Formation and Honorary Canon, St John’s Cathedral from 2021
Assistant bishops (Southern Region)
From Until Incumbent Notes
2013 2017 Alison Taylor First female bishop in the diocese. Appointed as Member of the Order of Australia in 2023.
Assistant bishops (Western Region)
From Until Incumbent Notes

Saint John's Cathedral

The Cathedral of Saint John was completed in 2005, after 100 years of construction.

In 2015, a series of statues, costing $45,000 each according to the ABC, were purchased and blessed by Archbishop Aspinall before being installed on the cathedral's facade.

Shortly before this, a storm warped one of the cathedral's walls, causing millions of dollars' worth of damage.

Theological training

Clergy trained in a variety of colleges and seminaries are active in the diocese. Those trained within it attend Saint Francis' Theological College, an affiliate of Charles Sturt University. The principal of the college is Bishop Jonathan Holland.

A motion put to the 2017 synod that would have allowed diocesan ordinands to study at the more evangelical Brisbane School of Theology, a historic "Bible college", was not carried.


The diocese has a dominant liberal Anglo-Catholic ethos. Religious orders such as the Society of Saint Francis and the Oratory of the Good Shepherd have made Brisbane their Australian base. The Society of the Sacred Advent was also founded in the city.

According to the diocesan handbook, in keeping with the Anglo-Catholic nature of the diocese clergy must always wear a stole over the cassock or alb when celebrating the Eucharist (plain clothes or business suits are not allowed).

Archbishop Phillip Aspinall is a liberal Anglo-Catholic of the Affirming Catholicism school and gave the keynote address at the Australian Church Union's 2006 Keble Mass.

Despite the dominant liberal Anglo-Catholic ethos, there are a handful of low church parishes in a few of Brisbane's southern suburbs, such as Coorparoo. However the diocese's Anglo-Catholic orientation has rarely been questioned.

Lobby groups

The dean of the cathedral, Peter Catt, is the founder of A Progressive Christian Voice and is, according to the Brisbane Times, an advocate for same-sex marriage. He also chairs the diocese's social responsibilities committee.

The Angligreen environmental group is also a significant voice in the diocese.


Biblical literacy

Archbishop Aspinall observed that "Few Anglicans in Brisbane have any depth of knowledge of the Bible; few read or study the Bible regularly ..."

Transgender priests

Archbishop Aspinall supported English-born Brisbane priest and Saint Francis' lecturer, Josephine Inkpin, when she came out as Australia's first openly-transgender priest. Aspinall's letter indicated he was aware "there are further transgender people involved in our wider diocesan life." Inkpin's wife, Penny Jones, was one of the first female priests in the United Kingdom. In 2020, Archbishop Aspinall supported another priest, Selina McMahon, in her transition. The State Library of Queensland interviewed Josephine Inkpin and her wife Penny about the intersection of gender, faith, religion and identity for their Dangerous Women podcast.

Same sex marriage

According to the Courier Mail, in 2015 the diocese's social responsibilities committee endorsed same-sex civil unions.

A large number of priests in the diocese publicly support same-sex marriage. In 2022, St. John's Cathedral announced that it would offer blessings for same-sex unions.

State-church relationship

Links to the military

According to an academic paper by Jonathan Holland, Archbishop Philip Strong had opposed 13 other bishops from around the country who had spoken out against Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War. Archbishop Strong had argued for National Service and vigorously defended Australia's support of America in Vietnam on the grounds that "Conflict at the right time and in the right place may serve the cause of ultimate world peace." At the same time, the priest in charge of the Chermside parish sought to dismiss curates who took a Christian pacifist stance.

Links to the legal community

According to the ABC, the diocese has close links to the legal establishment in Brisbane. This has led to public concerns about a serious conflict of interest.

All Saint's Brisbane

A conservative Anglo-Catholic parish, All Saints' Brisbane, joined the Forward in Faith movement in protest over the issue of the ordination of women and the diocese's refusal to provide alternative episcopal oversight. Archbishop Aspinall suspended the priest in charge of the parish, David Chislett, after he was consecrated as a bishop by the Traditional Anglican Communion. In a speech to Federal Parliament, Peter Slipper declared, "I believe that this action by Archbishop Aspinall seriously brings into doubt his moral fitness to be the Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane."


The diocese has a strong ecumenical relationship with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.

The Anglican, Roman Catholic and Uniting churches perform some collaborative ministry and the Lutheran Church of Australia has been in discussions with them. However, the diocese only recognises church denominations with an episcopal form of government. In 2002, Aspinall suggested that the Uniting Church in Australia adopt such a form of governance.


According to a synod paper, between 2011 and 2016, the number of parishioners in the diocese declined by 7%.

See also

  • Anglicare
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