Tamrookum Church and Garden

Just a short drive inland, behind Queensland’s Gold Coast in The Scenic Rim, lies a valley of rural tranquillity. It’s bordered on the east by the Lamington National Park, to the south by the Border Ranges, and to the west – the Great Dividing Range.

At Tamrookum, between the main regional town Beaudesert and Rathdowney, the family-owned All Saints Anglican Church was built as a memorial to Robert Martin Collins, one of the advocates of Queensland’s first national parks – including the Lamington National Park.

The valley in which All Saints Church at Tamrookum is centred was settled early, valued for its rich pastures and good rainfall. We visited on a sunny day when the colours were so intense they were almost unbelievable.The sky was clear and blue, and after good recent rain the grass was emerald green.

The church is enhanced by the simplicity of the garden and the colours of favourite and reliable shrubs; bougainvillea and plumbago are outstanding for their bright flowers in the hot sun.

All Saints Church is recognizable as a Robert Smith “Robin” Dods (1868-1920) designed structure with many of the features of his domestic work. New Zealand born Robin Dods was educated at Brisbane Boys Grammar School and studied and worked abroad before returning to Brisbane to work in the partnership of Hall and Dods from 1896, with some breaks, until 1913.

Tamrookum Church gardenFortunately Brisbane Architect, Robert Riddell has researched and written extensively of Dods’ work underlining the legacy of his style still evident in many residences in Brisbane and rural areas of Queensland.

Among Dods’ other small chapels is a wooden chapel on the grounds of St Margaret’s School and a stone chapel built in 1912 to replace a wooden chapel on the grounds of Old Bishopsbourne, Milton. He also designed St. Brigid’s Catholic Church at Red Hill which is still a feature of Brisbane’s skyline more than one hundred years after its completion.

The church and its charming garden is a fitting tribute to this pioneering family and its sometimes tragic story. “This is my memorial unto all generations” Exodus.


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