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Welcome to Churches of Tasmania

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I love history and photography and also have an interest in architecture. When I started this blog in 2017 I had the goal of photographing every historical church in Tasmania. This was initially driven by the proposed mass sell-off of Anglican churches. I was concerned that these buildings would be modified and no longer be accessible once in private hands. As the years have passed this goal has changed to writing short histories of each and every church built in Tasmania, of which there are about 1600.   My earliest posts are rather amateurish but my research and writing has improved somewhat over the years.  In time my hope is to revise and update every article to a publishable standard. I have received an overwhelming amount of material from followers of the blog and I will incorporate this into the articles in the revision phase. Eventually I hope to publish the best of the articles. At present the blog attracts about 1000 views per day and I hope that this will continue to grow. 

No. 1204 - Launceston - Frederick Street Chapel (1839-1842)

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The Frederick Street chapel was a temporary place of worship used from 1839 until 1842 when it was replaced by “St John’s Square Chapel”, now known as Milton Hall. The Frederick Street Independent Chapel was established following a split in the congregation of Charles Price’s Tamar Street Chapel. The new congregation initially met in the Frederick Street Infant School which had opened in 1836. The congregation was led by Reverend John West. West arrived in Tasmania in 1838, having been sent by the Colonial Missionary Society to engage in mission work in the northern districts of this island. West preached in Launceston, where his “gentle winning manner and his deep thoughtful teaching won him a group of followers”. In mid 1839 a small wooden chapel was opened on Frederick Street on a site close to what is now the City Mission. The building acquired for use as a chapel was even “then considered an old one, ….erected in another part of the town ….[and] purchased and removed on wheels t

No. 1203 - Campbell Town - Adam Turnbull Memorial Hall (1956)

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This article is one in a series about buildings associated with some of Tasmania’s most significant churches. These buildings include Sunday schools, parish halls, convents, schools and residences of the clergy. Ancillary buildings are often overlooked and are rarely featured in published histories. My aim is to create a simple record of these buildings, including those that no longer exist. Campbell Town is a sizeable rural centre on the Midland Highway approximately 70 kilometres south of Launceston. It was named by Governor Lachlan Macquarie when his party encamped here in 1821 on their way to Hobart. Macquarie chose the site as one of four garrison towns between Hobart and Launceston. St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church opened for worship on 30 May 1858. The origins of the church are bound to the life to Reverend Adam Turnbull, one time Secretary to Governor George Arthur and to Sir John Franklin. In 1852 Turnbull clashed with Governor Denison in opposing the continued transportation o

No. 1202 - Hagley - St Paul's Anglican Church (1848-1862)

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This ‘blog entry’ is one of a series of articles about places of worship which are barely represented in the historical record. No images of these buildings appear to have survived. My hope is that these brief articles may result in further information and photographs coming to light thus enabling a more complete history to be recorded. Hagley lies about 5 kilometres north-east of the town of Westbury. In the 1820s land grants were made to William Thomas Lyttleton, William Bryan and Sir Richard Dry. Lyttleton was associated with Hagley Hall in England, after which he named his estate and which is the source of the village’s name. St Paul’s was Hagley first Anglican church. It was used as an Anglican church from 1848 to 1862 when it was replaced by St Mary’s church that was built on a new site nearby. St Paul’s was later purchased by the Presbyterians who used it until 1878 when it was demolished to make way for a new Presbyterian church. The foundation stone for St Paul’s was ceremonia

No. 1201 - Oatlands - Wesleyan Methodist Chapel and Cemetery (1841- c.1911)

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The town of Oatlands acquired its name in 1821 when Governor Lachlan Macquarie passed through the area. He noted that it was “a very eligible situation for a town, being well watered and in the midst of a rich fertile country”. A settlement was well established by the late 1820s by which time several cottages, a barracks, gaol and a church had been constructed. The Wesleyan-Methodist Chapel was the second church built at Oatlands, opening in early 1841 after tenders for the construction of a stone building were advertised in June 1840. Built of local freestone, the chapel measured 31 ft. by 21 ft. and had a shingle roof with two windows on either side of the building. Regular services were held until the late 1840s but were discontinued until 1859. Services were irregular due to the small Methodist population and because of difficulties supplying a resident minister. This was a defining feature of the church which remained unused for long periods of time until it was permanently close

No. 1200 - Launceston - St Ailbe's Hall (1932) - "Made in Launceston"

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This article is one in a series about buildings associated with some of Tasmania’s most significant churches. These buildings include Sunday schools, parish halls, convents, schools and residences of the clergy. Ancillary buildings are often overlooked and are rarely featured in published histories. My aim is to create a simple record of these buildings, including those that no longer exist. Launceston’s ‘Church of the Apostles’ was completed in 1866 however almost 70 years were to pass before a church hall was built in 1932. Plans to build a hall date to the early 1900s but for many years progress were hampered by limited finances. Ironically, these circumstances changed during the Great Depression following two generous bequests made to the church. Mr William Dargan left a bequest of £2000 and a similar amount was received from from the estate of Elizabeth Bourke, at last making the hall a reality. The foundations for the hall were laid in early December 1931 while the ceremonial lay

No. 1199 - Leith - Anglican Church (1894)

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Leith is a small seaside town on the Bass Highway approximately 10 kilometres west of Devonport. It was previously named Port Fenton and was to be developed into a port before the Forth River silted up. It was renamed Leith after Edinburgh’s seaport. An Anglican church was built near Leith in 1868 which was located about a kilometre from the village of ‘Hamilton on Forth’. In 1893 the church was moved closer to Forth which had become the larger of the two settlements. After the church’s removal a new church was built at Leith on a site closer to the sea in order “to meet the requirements of the worshippers at the small township”. In July 1893 the North West Post reported: “Other friends have come forward in the persons of Messrs J.F. Liddle and R. Hall, who have each given valuable sites for a church building at Hamilton on-Forth and Leith, respectively. It has been practically decided to remove the church which serves Leith and Hamilton at present to Mr Liddle’s site at Hamilton, at

No. 1198 - Kelso - Anglican Church (c.1940-1974)

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Kelso is a small settlement in the local government area of West Tamar. It is located about 14 kilometres north of the town of Beaconsfield. It was originally called Kelsalls Bay or Kelsalls Point after an early settler in the area. Very little is known about the Kelso church. Dorothea Henslowe’s ‘Our Heritage of Anglican Churches in Tasmania’ provides the following information: “In about 1909 services were held in a private house near the jetty. There appears to have been a wooden church later which had been a school but it was closed in 1974”. A search of online newspapers on Trove reveals that a church was operating in the old Kelso schoolroom which was in use until the 1920s. The Anglicans used the building some time after this and services seem to have active from the 1940s. There are several references to services in this period, such as this very brief report from 1946: “A service was conducted at the Church of England, Kelso by Reverend J. Doig, Beaconsfield. There was a large

No. 1197 - Hagley - St Mary's Parsonage (1861)

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This article is one in a series about buildings associated with some of Tasmania’s most significant churches. These buildings include Sunday schools, parish halls, convents, schools and residences of the clergy. Ancillary buildings are often overlooked and are rarely featured in published histories. My aim is to create a simple record of these buildings, including those that no longer exist. Hagley lies about 5 kilometres north-east of the town of Westbury. In the 1820s land grants were made to William Thomas Lyttleton, William Bryan and Sir Richard Dry. Lyttleton was associated with Hagley Hall in England, after which he named his estate; giving the town its name. St. Mary’s Anglican Church is closely associated with the life of Sir Richard Dry (1815-1869). Dry was Tasmania's first native-born Premier and the first Australian to receive a knighthood. His father, Richard Dry senior, was an Irish political exile. Following in his father’s footsteps, Richard Dry was one of the key fi

No. 1196 - South Launceston - Potters House Christian Fellowship Church (1986)

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Potters House Christian Fellowship is a Pentecostal church based in the United States of America. It was established in Arizona in 1970 by Wayman Mitchell. In 1978 the Fellowship “planted” its first overseas church in Perth, Western Australia. The Potters House Christian Fellowship has over 3000 churches worldwide The Potters House church at Launceston was established by Pastor Greg and Lisa Mitchell in 1986. The church has operated from various premises including the former C T Finney Memorial Chapel on Cameron Street and more recently in the former Charles Street School Hall on the corner of Canning Street. In 2020 the Fellowship purchased the former St Mark’s Anglican church on Hobart Road. Potters Hill Christian Fellowship Church acquired St Mark's Anglican church in 2020 The former Charles Street School Hall which was used by the Potters House Fellowship until 2020. Sources and useful links: Launceston Churches of the 20th Century, Launceston Historical Society (pamphlet), 19

No. 1195 - Hobart - Penitentiary Chapel - Old Trinity (1833)

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The ‘Penitentiary Chapel’ was the second Anglican church built at Hobart. Known as “Old Trinity”, it was the first church built for the new Trinity Parish established in 1833. The Chapel was designed by John Lee Archer and built on the corner of Brisbane and Campbell Streets at a cost of £1,763. It abutted the northern edge of the prisoner’s barracks which were constructed in the 1820s. The Chapel was built to provide a place of worship for convicts and free settlers. Prior to its construction convicts attended St David’s, where they were confined to the gallery. The new Penitentiary Chapel both freed up space at St David’s and provided a place of worship for free citizens living in Trinity parish. The chapel was designed in the shape of a tau cross comprising of three wings of tiered seating. Beneath the tiers were solitary confinement punishment cells. The cells varied in height determined by the inclined floors. The chapel’s east and west wings each accommodated 500 prisoners who s

No. 1194 - Riverside - St Francis of Assisi Catholic Church (2022)

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Riverside is a suburb north of Launceston on the west bank of the Tamar River. It falls within the West Tamar local government area. St Francis of Assisi is the first Catholic church to be consecrated in Tasmania for a number of years. The building is not a new church but a former Anglican church, St David’s, which was built in 1963. The church of St Francis of Assisi dates back to 1956 when the Trevallyn-Riverside parish was created and a Mass centre was established near Cormiston Road. Later a church hall was built at Pomona Road below the Franciscan Friary. In 1982 the hall was enlarged and renovated and the church became the centre for the Riverside parish. The Pomona Road church was sold in 2021 to facilitate the purchase of St David’s on West Tamar Road, which is conveniently located near St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School. The newly acquired church was renovated and reopened in March 2022. It was consecrated on 11 September 2022 by Archbishop Julian Porteous. The grotto of “

No. 1193 - Ulverstone - Life Christian Church

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Ulverstone is a town of many churches with 18 denominations established since the area was settled in the 1840s. Life Christian Church is one of the more recent additions to the town. Life Christian Church was established in 2004 by Peter and Kerrie Shurley. Originally founded in Forth, the church experienced rapid growth and outgrew the local hall used for Sunday services. In 2018 Life Christian Church acquired a property at 22 Allambie Crescent which had previously been a Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall. Life Christian Church is a pentecostal family church established in association with Australian Christian Churches (previously known as the Assemblies of God). Life Christian Church - Photo: Edwards Windsor Real Estate  The church was previously a Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Hall built in 1988 - Photo D. Grant 2019 Sources and Further Information: https://www.lifechristianchurch.org.au/home/about/ https://www.acc.org.au/about-us/