Posts

Welcome to Churches of Tasmania

Image
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. 1497 - Dysart - Camp Woodfield Chapel

Image
Dysart is a small settlement in rural district which bears the same name. It lies on the Midlands Highway approximately 40 kilometres north of Hobart. Until about 1875 the area was known as Shepton Monacute. The name Dysart was given to the Parish in 1836. It was taken from the property Dysart Park. Camp Woodfield was established as a Christian camp by the Church of Christ in the 1960s. In the 1970s the former St Paul’s Anglican church at Strickland, which had closed in 1969, was moved to Woodfield to be used as a chapel. In 2019 the Woodfield was redeveloped as the Woodfield Adventure Park. In 2023 the property was listed for sale. The chapel at "Camp Woodfield" - Photograph: Camp Woodfield Facebook page  Photograph: Camp Woodfield Facebook page The interior of the Woodfield Chapel. Photograph courtesy of Petrusma Real Estate, Hobart Further Information: https://www.facebook.com/woodfieldvillage/

No. 1496 - Poatina - Tasmanian Council of Churches - Ecumenical Church (1958)

Image
Poatina Village is a former village built by the Hydro Electric Commission. It was established to house workers constructing a new hydro-electric scheme at northern end of the Great Lake on the Central Plateau through to the Western Tiers and down to a power station at the base of the mountains. Tasmania’s vast hydro-electric scheme dates back to 1914 when the Tasmanian Government bought a small electricity company in financial difficulty and created the Hydro-Electric Department. The first power station at Waddamana in the Great Lake Power Scheme was opened in 1916. Over a period of 80 years, 30 power stations and 54 major dams were built. Construction camps and villages were built to support major projects and during this period 10 villages were established, most of which had a full social infrastructure including a school, public hall and a church. After the Second World War, large numbers of migrants were recruited to construct dams and power stations. This brought English, Polish,

No. 1495 - Cygnet - Wesleyan Methodist Church (1879)

Image
Cygnet is a small coastal town situated about 70 kilometres south of Hobart. It is named after the adjacent bay of Port Cygnet which was 'discovered' by D'Entrecasteaux and named ‘Port des Cygne’ (meaning the port or harbour of swans). The settlement was known as Port Cygnet until 1895 when it was changed to Lovett. In 1915 the town’s name was changed again becoming Cygnet. In 1875 a ‘special correspondent for the Hobart Mercury wrote a detailed description of the settlement at Port Cygnet: “….For beauty of situation and convenience of approach, the township can hardly be surpassed by any of the ports on the Huon. The houses of Port Cygnet, nearly all built of wood, are somewhat scattered, but the nucleus of the township consists of some thirty or forty tenements clustered near the head of the bay, and containing, perhaps, a hundred and fifty inhabitants. Here all the business of the town is transacted. There are two hotels (one near the wharf, kept by Mr. John Russell, an

No. 1494 - Poatina - Catholic Church (1958)

Image
Poatina Village is a former village built by the Hydro Electric Commission. It was established to house workers constructing a new hydro-electric scheme at northern end of the Great Lake on the Central Plateau through to the Western Tiers and down to a power station at the base of the mountains. Tasmania’s vast hydro-electric scheme dates back to 1914 when the Tasmanian Government bought a small electricity company in financial difficulty and created the Hydro-Electric Department. The first power station at Waddamana in the Great Lake Power Scheme was opened in 1916. Over a period of 80 years, 30 power stations and 54 major dams were built. Construction camps and villages were built to support major projects and during this period 10 villages were established, most of which had a full social infrastructure including a school, public hall and a church. After the Second World War, large numbers of migrants were recruited to construct dams and power stations. This brought English, Polish

No. 1493 - Invermay - St Finn Barr's Church Hall (1927-1954)

Image
St Finn Barr’s Catholic church on Invermay Road opened in August 1954, almost 30 years after the original church burnt down in 1925. Following the destruction of the church and school a Drill Hall on Holbrook Street was used as temporary accommodation until the new school building opened in 1927. A hall within the school was used as a church for 27 years before a new church was built. The foundation stone for the new school and church hall was ceremonially laid by Archbishop Barry on Sunday 7 November 1926. The building was completed in the following year and was opened by Archbishop Barry on Sunday 29 May. A report in Launceston’s Daily Telegraph described the opening ceremony and also included a detailed description of the new convent school and church hall: “Before the blessing of the building, a short preliminary prayer service was held in the central hall, to which His Grace was conducted by Dean Hennessy and Father Cullen… The service finished, Barry was then conducted through

No. 1492 - Burnie - The first Gospel Hall on Mount Street (1876)

Image
Burnie is a port city on the north-west coast of Tasmania. The origins of the town date back to 1827 when a settlement was established at Emu Bay by the Van Diemen’s Land Company. The settlement was later renamed Burnie after William Burnie, a director of the Van Diemen's Land Company. The Christian Brethren began services in Burnie in 1875 when a small group met at the home of George Atkinson, son-in-law of Chartist convict, Zephaniah Williams. Here a committee was formed for the purposes of constructing a Gospel Hall. Their work was assisted by James ‘Philosopher Smith’, who discovered tin at Mount Bischoff. Smith donated land in Mount Street for the Hall. In 1875, the three trustees called for tenders for the construction of a simple timber building. The Hall opened in 1876, at a cost of £25. At first, conditions were rudimentary, with no wooden floor and unlined walls. Over the years the building was improved and was also used for a Sunday school. On the death of Smith, his wi

No. 1491 - Launceston - St Luke's Calvary Hospital Chapel (1982)

Image
Churches and chapels have been established in almost every form of public institution including gaols, hospitals, retirement homes, schools, universities, convents and military camps. In Tasmania at least seven chapels have been established within public and private hospitals. This article will focus on the historic chapel at Calvary St Luke’s Hospital, Launceston. The origins of Calvary St Luke’s Hospital date back to 1918 when a Homeopathic Hospital was established in ‘Dilkusha’, an expansive residence located on Lyttelton Street. In 1951 the Homeopathic Hospital was acquired by the Anglican church. The hospital building was dedicated to St Luke on Thursday 18 October 1951. The Examiner reported the occasion as follows: “On the day of the saint whom its new name honours, the Launceston Homoeopathic Hospital formally became St. Luke's Hospital of the Church of England. The board decided some months ago to give the hospital, which has "served Launceston people for 51 years, to

No. 1490 - The Steppes - St Luke's Mission Hall (1911)

Image
The Steppes is a rural area in the Central Highlands of Tasmania. It is located about 80 kilometres north of the town of Hamilton and lies south of Arthur’s Lake. The Steppes is closely associated with the Wilson family. In the early 1860s James Wilson was appointed Chief Constable of the Steppes district. In 1863 a police station was constructed which became the home of Wilson and wife Jessie and five children. James was made redundant when the station closed in 1894 but the Wilsons were allowed to stay on as tenants. When James died in 1922, aged 85, Mrs Jessie Wilson and her three daughters continued to live at the Steppes. The last of the family was Miss ‘Madge’ Wilson who lived her entire life at the Steppes, passing away in 1975 at the age of 92 years. The Wilson’s daughters were closely associated with the establishment of St Luke’s Mission Hall, and Madge, a talented artist, carved the the church’s altar furniture. The origins of the Mission Hall is spelt out in considerable de

No. 1489 - Burnie - St George's Parish Hall and Sunday School (1938)

Image
This article is one of a series about buildings associated with Tasmania’s historical churches. These buildings include Sunday schools, parish halls, convents, schools and residences of the clergy. Ancillary buildings are often overlooked and rarely feature in published histories. My aim is to create a simple record of these buildings, including those which no longer exist. Burnie is a port city on the north-west coast of Tasmania. The origins of the town date back to 1827 when a settlement was established at Emu Bay by the Van Diemen’s Land Company. The settlement was later renamed Burnie after William Burnie, a director of the Company. Burnie’s first Anglican church was a small wooden structure which was built in 1850 at a site on Wilmot Street. In 1885 a new church was built on the corner Cattley Street and Mount Street. This building was substantially rebuilt in 1959 and barely resembles the original church. In 1938 a parish hall and Sunday school was built adjacent to St George’s

No. 1488 - Port Huon - St Andrew's Mission Church (1940)

Image
Port Huon is a deep-water port on the Huon River, 4 kilometres east of Geeveston on the Huon Highway. Originally known as Shipwrights Point the name was changed in 1965. Little is known about this relatively short-lived church which was in use for about 10 years. Dorothea Henslowe’s ‘Our Heritage of Anglican Churches in Tasmania’ states that it was “a small wooden church built circa 1940 and sold about 1950 and not replaced”. The origins of the church can be traced back to 1936. In August 1936 a report in the Huon and Derwent Times states that a block of land “in a favourable position for a church site” had been purchased at Port Huon. At the time of the church’s dedication in December 1940, a report in the Hobart Mercury reveals that the building had previously been used as a Sunday school. It is therefore possible that the building may have been constructed as early as 1937. The church was officially dedicated by Bishop Dr. R.S. Hay on Sunday 8 December 1940 as “St Andrew’s Mission

No. 1487 - Burnie - Wilmot Street - Seventh Day Adventist Church (1927)

Image
Burnie is a port city on the north-west coast of Tasmania. The origins of the town date back to 1827 when a settlement was established at Emu Bay by the Van Diemen’s Land Company. The settlement was later renamed Burnie after William Burnie, a director of the Company. The Seventh-Day Adventist Church was established in Tasmania in 1888. The denomination originated in the USA in the 1860s and in 1885 a group of Adventists travelled to Australia and began preaching in Melbourne. After a community was established in Melbourne in 1886 members moved on to Sydney, Adelaide and Hobart. Public tent meetings were held in Sandy Bay in 1888 which led to the establishment of a church at Collinsvale and then Hobart and Launceston shortly after the turn of the century. The Seventh Day Adventist presence at Burnie began in 1921 with the first service held in the Town Hall with about 20 members in attendance. Services continued in the Town Hall until 1927 when a small weatherboard church was built on

No. 1486 - Somerset - Kingdom Hall

Image
Somerset is located on the estuary of the western bank of the Cam River midway between the township of Wynyard and the city of Burnie. At one time it was a town in its own right but is now practically a satellite suburb of the city of Burnie. In 1856 the settlement was named in honour of the Earl of Somerset. Somerset’s Kingdom Hall is located off the Murchison Highway. It is built in the style typical of most of the 21 Kingdom Halls established in Tasmania. No published information about the hall is available. The Jehovah's Witness diverges from the mainstream doctrines of Christianity in that it is a non-trinitarian tradition. Jehovah's Witnesses believe their denomination is a restoration of first-century Christianity. The historical persecution of members of the Jehovah’s Witness in many countries, including Australia, has further contributed to the denomination maintaining a low profile in the media. For this reason the history of the Jehovah Witness in Tasmania presents a

No. 1485 - Cygnet - 'Church of St James the Apostle' (1867)

Image
Cygnet is a small coastal town situated about 70 kilometres south of Hobart. It is named after the adjacent bay of Port Cygnet which was 'discovered' by D'Entrecasteaux and named ‘Port des Cygne’ (meaning the port of swans). The settlement was known as Port Cygnet until 1895 when it was changed to Lovett. In 1915 the town’s name was changed once again to Cygnet. Four Catholic churches have operated at Cygnet: 1. A rudimentary building used as a church (c.1855-1867) 2. The first church of St James, a paling timber building (1867) 3. A rebuilt and extended church which was called the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (1905-1940) 4. The current Church of St James which opened in 1940. The focus of this article is on the first two churches. The third and fourth churches will each be the subject of future articles on the blog. The origins of Cygnet’s first two Catholic churches is recounted by historian Basil Rait: “In the ecclesiastical history of the Huon, Cygnet occupies a