St Barnabas Anglican Church, Broadway

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St Barnabas Anglican Church
(1)St Barnabas Church Broadway Sydney-1.jpg
The new church, completed in 2012
St Barnabas Anglican Church is located in Sydney
St Barnabas Anglican Church
St Barnabas Anglican Church
Location in Great Sydney
33°53′01″S 151°11′46″E / 33.88361°S 151.19611°E / -33.88361; 151.19611Coordinates: 33°53′01″S 151°11′46″E / 33.88361°S 151.19611°E / -33.88361; 151.19611
Founded1858 (1858)
DedicationSaint Barnabas
Functional statusActive
  • Unknown (1858)
  • Francis-Jones Morehen Thorpe (2012)
Architectural typeChurch
Years built
  • 1858
  • 2010–2012
Minister(s)Rev. Mike Paget

St Barnabas Anglican Church, Broadway is an Anglican church in the Diocese of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. The church property is located on Broadway, near the University of Sydney and University of Technology, Sydney.[1]

Commonly called Barneys, the church is well known in Sydney for its church signs, including a celebrated "battle" with the publican across the road. The church would put up one sign and the hotel would have another with a witty reply to the church's sign. Some of the signs attracted the attention of the Sydney media.

Arthur Stace, the "Eternity" man, was a member of the church.


Built by slum labourers in the Inner West region of Sydney, the foundation stone for the building was laid in 1858. Much later, some of the land in front of the church was sold and became the site of a commercial building in the Beaux-Arts style.

2006: fire and destruction[edit]

A fire ravaged the church building at 3.30 am on 10 May 2006. It took firefighters around eight hours to completely contain the fire.[2] Destroyed in the fire were a 100-year-old pipe organ, a historic stained-glass window (valued in the media at over a million dollars) and memorials to parishioners who died in World War I.[3]

The investigation concluded that the fire was probably started at the power box. No accelerants were found, indicating that arson was not a cause.[4]

2010: demolition of old church building and rebuilding[edit]

The old church building was demolished in 2010 and the new building, designed by Sydney architects Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp, was opened in June 2012.[5][6]

The new church building also houses a social community centre and creche. It was awarded a High Commendation (buildings of religion) at the 2013 World Architecture Festival in Singapore[7] and the 2013 International Architecture Award.[8]


The senior minister since 2010 is the Reverend Mike Paget.[9] Other senior ordained staff include Jason Cheng, Erica Hamence and Rhys Duggan. St Barnabas' also employs a music director, Steve Crain, and a substantial ministry team.[10]

Previous ministers at the church include:


Arthur Stace, a member of the congregation, attracted attention for writing the word eternity in chalk on the streets of Sydney from the 1940s through to the 1960s in a distinctive copperplate style. "Eternity" was featured on the Sydney Harbour Bridge during the 2000 New Year's celebrations.

A documentary about Arthur Stace, called Eternity, by Lawrence Johnston was released in 1994.[13]

Battle of the signs[edit]

R.B.S Hammond began the weekly ritual of the famous St. Barnabas message board. His witty and often thought provoking messages were what made St. Barnabas famous. Some include; "Drink and trouble are like petrol and fire", "Alcohol makes your mind stagger long before your feet do", "Do not nurse a grievance, teach it to walk", and "Divorce is the hash we make from domestic scraps". Continuing on the tradition was Robert Forsyth, who found that he had competition from Arthur Elliot, publican of the nearby pub, Broadway Hotel. The two noticeboards would often display subtle wordplay. Here are some of them:[14]

  • St Barnabas: "This church is for sinners"
    • Broadway Hotel: "This pub is for drinkers"
  • St Barnabas: "Money does not make you happy"
    • Broadway Hotel: "I'd rather be rich and happy than poor and happy"
  • St Barnabas: "God made sex for marriage not for money"
    • Broadway Hotel: "Wish he had made money for marriage"
  • St Barnabas: "Free Grace brothers and sisters" (St Barnabas was next to a Grace Brothers store)
    • Broadway Hotel: "Free David Jones too" (referring to another Australian department store)
  • St Barnabas: "The best things in life aren't things"
    • Broadway Hotel: "Things are not all what they seem to be"

Nowadays and perhaps somewhat ironically, after some services, particularly the later services, parishioners share fellowship with each other at the pub opposite the St. Barnabas.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rauscher, R. C.; Momtaz, S. (2015). Sustainable Neighbourhoods in Australia: City of Sydney Urban Planning. Springer International Publishing. p. 212. ISBN 978-3-319-17572-0. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  2. ^ Just a Fiery Glitch Archived 29 June 2006 at the Wayback Machine The Sydney Morning Herald
  3. ^ Bishop vows to rebuild gutted church Archived 12 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine ABC News Online, Wednesday, 10 May 2006.
  4. ^ Police rule out arson at St Barnabas Archived 13 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Sydney Morning Herald, 9 June 2006.
  5. ^ Jacqueline Maley (20 February 2010). "Pastor and publican set for more punchlines as church rises from ashes". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 16 May 2014. Retrieved 13 January 2014.
  6. ^ Kaley Payne (5 June 2012). "St Barnabas back on Broadway with a new church for a new generation". Bible Society. Bible Society. Retrieved 13 January 2014.
  7. ^ Drew, Philip. "St Barnabas Anglican Church". Architecture Media Pty Ltd. Archived from the original on 13 January 2014. Retrieved 13 January 2014.
  8. ^ "NEW YORK ARCHITECTS SELECT PRESTIGIOUS INTERNATIONAL ARCHITECTURE AWARDS FOR 2013" (PDF). International Architecture Awards. The Chicago Athenaeum. 10 August 2013. Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 December 2013. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  9. ^ Barney's turns a new Paget Archived 15 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine. Sydney Anglicans Website, 12 August 2010.
  10. ^ [1] Barney's Staff Team
  11. ^ Rob Forsyth Archived 10 August 2006 at the Wayback Machine Bishop Rob Forsyth's page, Rector of St Barnabas 1983–2000.
  12. ^
  13. ^ Eternity Archived 9 February 2017 at the Wayback Machine. IMDB entry.
  14. ^ Signs of the times: Photo gallery from the Sydney Morning Herald Archived 13 September 2006 at the Wayback Machine - including some church signs

External links[edit]