May Members’ Meeting

Friday 6 May 7.30 pm

Chris Burns

A Modern Image: postwar churches in South Australia 1945-1990

During the postwar period many Christian denominations implemented substantial changes or modernised to become more inclusive and relevant to their congregations. This changed the way they connected to their community, practiced their faith, and created a sense of place. Fundamental to these modernisation aims was their expression in built form. 

This talk examines the liturgical, architectural and social factors that influenced the design of over 650 new churches built in South Australia between 1945 and 1990. A surprising number of these places survive today, retaining their original material finishes, furniture and fittings. These places represent a substantial body of intact postwar architecture, but are under threat as churchgoing declines. 

Chris Burns is a historian at Heritage South Australia. He is Vice President of the Art Deco and Modernism Society of Australia Adelaide Chapter, and also Vice President of the Port Adelaide Historical Society.