St. Barnabas, Broadway

The new church completed in 2012

St Barnabas, Broadway is an Anglican church in the Diocese of Sydney, Australia. The church property is located on Broadway, near the University of Sydney and University of Technology, Sydney.

Barneys 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

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.[1] 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.[2]

The investigation concluded that the fire was probably started at the power box. No accelerants were found, indicating that arson was not a cause.[3]

2010: demolition of old church building and rebuilding

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.[4][5] 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[6] and the 2013 International Architecture Award.[7]


The senior minister as of 2010 was the Reverend Mike Paget.[8] Other senior ordained staff include the Reverend Andrew Judd, the Reverend Mark Wormell, Jason Cheng, Jonathan Condie and Erica Hemance. St Barnabas' also employs a music director, Steve Crain, and a substantial ministry team.[9]

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.[12]

Battle of the signs

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:[13]

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


  1. Just a Fiery Glitch The Sydney Morning Herald
  2. Bishop vows to rebuild gutted church ABC News Online, Wednesday, May 10, 2006.
  3. Police rule out arson at St Barnabas. Sydney Morning Herald, June 9, 2006.
  4. Jacqueline Maley (February 20, 2010). "Pastor and publican set for more punchlines as church rises from ashes". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 13 January 2014.
  5. 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.
  6. Philip Drew. "St Barnabas Anglican Church". Architecture Media Pty Ltd. Retrieved 13 January 2014.
  7. "NEW YORK ARCHITECTS SELECT PRESTIGIOUS INTERNATIONAL ARCHITECTURE AWARDS FOR 2013" (PDF). International Architecture Awards. The Chicago Athenaeum. August 10, 2013. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  8. Barney's turns a new Paget. Sydney Anglicans Website, August 12th, 2010.
  9. Barney's Staff Team
  10. Rob Forsyth Bishop Rob Forsyth's page, Rector of St Barnabas 1983-2000.
  12. Eternity. IMDB entry.
  13. Signs of the times: Photo gallery from the Sydney Morning Herald - including some church signs
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Coordinates: 33°53′01″S 151°11′46″E / 33.88361°S 151.19611°E / -33.88361; 151.19611

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