St Andrew's Uniting Church houses one of Brisbane's hidden treasures, the very Communion set that the Reverend Ernest Merrington used to conduct Holy Communion services at Gallipoli, and later in the trenches of France. Above the glass case containing this wonderful set is a photo of the Reverend Merrington at Gallipoli.
On display particularly for this commemoration is the flag which the women of the church sewed especially for their minister to take to the battlefields. It was used to signal the end of the war at the front and is on loan from Emmanuel College.
Who was this man who took Christianity to the battlefields of the First World War? At the beginning of the war, he was minister at St Andrew's and chose to serve as a Chaplain. Many of his congregation also served their country.
As a labour of love, members of the present church congregation are researching the histories of 267 soldiers, doctors and nurses listed on the Honour Boards in the Merrington ANZAC Memorial Peace Chapel. Fifty of these are already available for perusal in booklets containing short biographies and photographs.
One of those so honoured is J Lockhart Gibson MD who discovered the link between lead and disease in 1904. Although this discovery was discredited by those with a vested interest, such as paint manufacturers, his theory has withstood the tests of time and research. Unfortunately up to this day insufficient acknowledgement has resulted in cases of lead poisoning, particularly amongst children.
Another is a Mactaggart from the family well known for its wool stores at Teneriffe. Walter took his kangaroo rather than his horse with him.
It is not too late to observe the centenary of the ANZAC landing at Gallipoli by attending a guided tour of the Merrington ANZAC Memorial Peace Chapel in Saint Andrew's Uniting Church at the corner of Creek and Ann Streets, Brisbane. It will be open on Monday 27th from 10.00am to 3.00pm.