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Welcome to Churches of Tasmania

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I love history and photography and have a deep 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 1500.   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. As of October 2021, I have broken the 1000th article barrier and still have about 500 churches to g

No. 1037 - Kempton - St Mark's Anglican Church (1830-1845)

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Kempton is a small town on the Midlands Highway, about 45 kilometres north of Hobart. It was first settled by Anthony Fenn Kemp in 1817. He was given a grant of land, now the Mount Vernon estate. The town was first named Green Ponds after some small green water holes found near the town. The first Anglican church at ‘Green Ponds’ was a small timber church dedicated to St Mark. In the Hobart Town Almanac of 1829 there is a reference to a “neat little church [at Green Ponds] in the process of erection, and now nearly finished, built chiefly at the expense of the inhabitants”. The church was dedicated to St Mark’s and consecrated by Archdeacon Broughton in April 1830 with Lieutenant-Governor George Arthur in attendance. The Hobart Town Courier reported: “We have the pleasure to announce to the inhabitants of the Green Ponds and its neighbourhood, that the Venerable Archdeacon has fixed on Thursday next the 8th instant, as the day on which he will consecrate the Chapel at the Green Ponds,

No. 1036 - New Norfolk - Derwent Valley Salvation Army Corps

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New Norfolk is a large town on the banks of the Derwent River approximately 40 kilometres west of Hobart. It is a historic town mostly settled by Norfolk Islanders soon after its establishment. When Governor Lachlan Macquarie visited the township he named it Elizabeth Town after his wife. However, it was later decided to adopt the name New Norfolk to acknowledge the new settlers. New Norfolk has been the home of at least 10 religious denominations since the area was settled over two hundred years ago. The Salvation Army had an early presence in the town with a group of evangelists from Hobart preaching in 1887. There are few records of the ‘Army’s’ early years in the New Norfolk. Gatherings took place in a building on Montague Street. After the Great War the expense involved in maintaining a Corps at New Norfolk led to the withdrawal of the Salvation Army’ in about 1920. The ‘Army’ was reestablished in the town in 1936 with meetings held in the old library hall. When a bequest of £500

No. 1035 - Lower Mount Hicks Methodist Church (1890-1972)

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Lower Mount Hicks is a rural settlement situated approximately 10 kilometres south of Wynyard. Two churches were built in the greater Mount Hicks district; a Methodist church that opened in the 1890s and a Gospel Chapel which was established in the 1950s. Both churches have closed. Methodists services began at Mount Hicks in the 1880s which led to the construction of a church on what is now the Old Mount Hicks Road in the vicinity of the cemetery. I have not yet located a photograph of the building. The opening of the church took place on Sunday 14 December 1890. The occasion was reported by the Launceston Examiner and also the Wellington Times and Agricultural and Mining Gazette: “The new Methodist Free Church was opened on Sunday morning last by the Rev. W. H. Bowe, who conducted the service; the Rev. T. Ellis preaching in the afternoon; both services being well attended. The church is a weatherboard building, 18ft by 25ft, and has been erected on ground kindly given by Mr W. Hyland

No. 1034 - Longley - St Luke's Anglican Church (1893-1897) 'Baptism by Fire'

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Longley is a rural settlement approximately 20 kilometres south of Hobart. The area was originally named Leslie, a name that has been preserved by Leslie Hill, on the eastern side of Longley. Three Anglican churches were built at Longley, all of which were destroyed by bushfires. The first church was built in 1892 and consecrated and dedicated to St. Luke in February of the following year. This building was lost in the ‘great bushfires’ that swept across southern Tasmania in the summer of 1897/8. A second church was built and rededicated in 1898. This building was similarly destroyed in a bushfire in 1931. The third church, built in 1932, was lost in the 1967 bushfires. This building was not replaced. The focus of this article is on Longley’s first Anglican church which only stood for a little over four years. The church was a small weatherboard structure build by ‘Mr Stuart’. The church’s foundation stone was ceremonially laid by Bishop Montgomery on Tuesday 15 March 1892. The Mer

No. 1033 - Rosebery - St George's Anglican Church (1930-2001)

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Rosebery is a mining town located on the Murchison Highway approximately 60 kilometres north of Queenstown. The town’s name is taken from a mine pegged out by Tom McDonald in 1893. He named it the Rosebery Gold Mining Company after the Prime Minister of England, Lord Rosebery. The develop of the town only took off in the 1920s. In February 1930 a visitor to Rosebery remarked on the development that had recently taken place: “Since our last visit over three years ago, Rosebery has made immense strides, and a now town has practically arisen. Building operations are still going on to provide new houses and places of worship. Ringed around by mountains of imposing height - Mounts Murchison, Read and Black, and by lower heights, clothed by trees and bush, Rosebery is really beautifully situated, and might be considered a most delectable residential town, if it were not for the heavy rainfall, the roads, alternately dusty and muddy, and the comparatively few days of sunshine and warmth”. “A

No. 1032 - Cornelian Bay Cemetery - Wellington Chapel

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Cornelian Bay cemetery opened in 1872 after four of Hobart’s cemeteries were condemned as health hazards. Some, but not all bodies were exhumed and reinterred at Cornelian Bay. The cemetery was originally divided into sections for religious denominations: Church of England, Catholic; Presbyterian; Jewish; Quaker; Baptist and Independent. A War Grave and Pauper section were also established. It is estimated that there has been 100,000 burials and 60,000 cremations at Cornelian Bay. Since it was established, three funeral chapels have operated at Cornelian Bay Cemetery. (see No. 955 - The Derwent Chapel and No. 1024 - The Mortuary Chapel ) The Derwent Chapel was replaced by the Wellington Chapel in 1993. In 2005 the Wellington Chapel was substantially renovated as it was considered cold, damp and uninviting. The refurbished chapel deliberately avoids specific religious preferences leaving the building open to individual interpretation. The chapel's interior.  Photo credit: Mirowski

No. 1031 - Lawitta Kingdom Hall

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Lawitta is settlement on the Lyell Highway 2 kilometres west of New Norfolk. Lawitta is now considered an outer suburb of New Norfolk. Lawitta’s Kingdom Hall is located on Goldsmith Street. It is built in the style typical of most of the 21 Kingdom Halls found 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. It is a ‘closed’ church and its practices have led its critics to regard it as a sect. 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 challenge to research. The following information is derived from the Jehovah Witness’s official tract

No. 1030 - Savage River - Ecumenical Community Church (1968-1995)

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Savage River is an iron ore mining town created specifically to house the workers from the Savage River Mine. It is located 25 km from the former mining town of Corinna. The township, which was established in the 1960s, now has a population of under 50. Iron ore from the mine is piped as slurry north to the coast at Port Latta for on-shipment. Savage River’s community church was dedicated on Sunday 12 May 1968 with the Catholic Archbishop of Hobart, Dr. Guilford Young, and Anglican Bishop of Tasmania, Robert Davies, in attendance. Also present were representatives of the Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist denominations. The church was a converted building that had previously been used as the single mens’ quarters. The building which was owned by Savage River Mines was purchased by the Anglican church for the sum of $1. With the decline of mining operations attendance at the church dwindled and the final service was held on Sunday 9 April 1995. I have yet to locate a photograph of the

No. 1029 - Hobart - Elizabeth Street Baptist Church

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Hobart’s Baptist Church, or Tabernacle, opened in January 1889. While the Baptist presence in Hobart dates back to 1835, it was the arrival of Irish born preacher Rev. Robert McCullough, supported by William Gibson of Native Point, the benefactor of tabernacles at Deloraine, Longford, Launceston and Latrobe; that revived the Baptist cause in the city. The Hobart Tabernacle is the third place of worship built at the Elizabeth Street site. The history of the Tabernacle’s development is succinctly outlined in an article in the Hobart Mercury, published at the time of the laying of the building’s foundation stone in 1887: “The history of the Baptist cause in Hobart, or at least that portion of it over which Pastor McCullough exercises spiritual charge, is not a long one. Just four years ago - on the first Sunday in October, 1883 - he commenced preaching in the Exhibition building, and kept it up for some time with success, until at last the use of the building was taken from him. It was hi

No. 1028 - Glenorchy - 'Edeline Gospel Hall'

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The city of Glenorchy is located approximately 7 kilometres north of Hobart's CBD. Glenorchy means ‘glen of tumbling waters’ and it is believed that Governor Lachlan Macquarie named the area after his wife’s birthplace; Glen Orchy, Argyllshire.The district was originally named 'King Georges Plains and the first centres of settlement were known as 'Kensington (village)' and ‘O'Briens Bridge’. Edeline Hall was built as public hall in late 1907 and was officially opened on Wednesday 1 January 1908. The hall was named in honour of Lady Edeline Strickland, wife of Governor Gerald Strickland. The hall still exists behind the facade of Bento Japanese take-away on Glenorchy Main Road, opposite the City Council offices. For many years Edeline Hall was a meeting place for social gatherings, political meetings, youth groups and occasionally for religious services and gatherings. By the 1950s the hall was in regular use by an evangelical Christian group; Worldwide Evangelizatio

No. 1027 - Latrobe - Mersey Valley Assembly of God

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Latrobe is a large country town situated between the Bass Highway and the Mersey River. The first dwelling built on the town site was in 1836 and land sales took place some 20 years later. It was named after Administrator Charles LaTrobe, who was acting Lieutenant-Governor of Tasmania for a few months (1846-7). Latrobe was once an important port town with boats operating from Bells Parade until the Mersey River silted up. Little information is available about this former Assembly of God church which was located 129 Gilbert street. Up until the early 2000s the Assemblies of God was still a significant religious denomination in Tasmania. The Centre for Tasmanian Historical Studies provides the following review of the denomination: “Assemblies of God are made up of autonomous Pentecostal churches led by an elected state President. Pentecostals are distinguished by their belief in spiritual gifts, most notably 'tongues', prophecy and healing. They are generally characterised by con

No. 1026 - Waverley - St Matthias' Anglican Church (1961-1966)

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Waverley is an eastern Launceston suburb made famous by the woollen mills, which carried its name. It was established as a housing subdivision in the 1950s. St. Mathias’ Anglican church was a short-lived church that was established in 1960. It opened in 1961 on a site on the Scottsdale Road (Tasman Highway) The building was gutted by a fire in 1966. As the church was not insured it was never rebuilt. To date I have yet to find a photograph of St Matthias’.  Additional information about this church is most welcome as all articles are updated. I can be contacted through this page or my Facebook page "Churches of Tasmania" which is linked here: < Churches of Tasmania >. Source: Henslowe, Dorothea I. and Hurburgh, Isa.  Our heritage of Anglican churches in Tasmania / by Dorothea I. Henslowe ; sketches by Isa Hurburgh, 1978.

No. 1025 - Gordon - Union Church (1933-1967)

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Gordon is a settlement on the Channel Highway about 25 kilometres southwest of Cygnet and which fronts onto the D’Entrecasteaux Channel. Gordon was once an orchard growing district. The area was previously known as 'Herne Bay' and 'Three Hut Point’. The Gordon Union Church, which opened in February 1933, replaced an early church also shared by the Methodist and Anglican communities. In 1932, when the construction of a new church began, the local correspondent for Hobart’s Mercury recalled : “Over 90 years ago a small dwelling was erected on the site where the new church is being built by two of Gordon’s earliest settlers, Messrs. John Behrens and Frederick Webber, for a Mr. John Abbott, an Englishman, who lived in a fine home with beautiful gardens and grounds, known as Rookwood, in the vicinity where Mr. Mason's general store now stands in Gordon. Many years later, after the disastrous bush fires of 1897 swept the State, the Gordon School, which for many years also ser

No. 1024 - Cornelian Bay Mortuary Chapel (1873-1928)

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Cornelian Bay cemetery opened in 1872 after four of Hobart’s cemeteries were condemned as health hazards. Some, but not all bodies were exhumed and reinterred at Cornelian Bay. The cemetery was originally divided into sections for religious denominations: Church of England, Catholic; Presbyterian; Jewish; Quaker; Baptist and Independent. A War Grave and Pauper section were also established. It is estimated that there has been 100,000 burials and 60,000 cremations at Cornelian Bay. The layout of the cemetery was planned by Hobart architect, Henry Hunter, who was one of the original trustees of the Cemetery Board established in 1866. Hunter’s original plan proposed that each religious denomination would be allocated land for their own mortuary chapel. However, only a non-denominational mortuary chapel and a Jewish mortuary ‘Receiving Hose’ were built. In June 1872 Hunter submitted plans for a chapel which included a “temporary wooden edifice” until a permanent stone building could be

No. 1023 - West Hobart - Christadelphian Ecclesia

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West Hobart is an inner-city suburb of Hobart immediately west of the city centre. The suburb occupies the high ground below Knocklofty Hill. The West Hobart Christadelphian ecclesia is located in Warwick Street in a building that was established as a Seventh-Day Adventist church. The church was built by the Adventists in 1896 and was vacated about 20 years ago when the Christadelphian’s acquired the building. The word ‘Christadelphian’ means ‘Brethren in Christ’. The denomination was founded in 1848 by Dr. John Thomas (1805-1871), who broke from the Disciples of Christ. Christadelphian’s hold several beliefs that differ from mainstream Christian denominations. They reject the doctrine of the Trinity and believe that Jesus Christ was a man. They do not mix with other Christian groups and have no interest in ecumenism. Members of this religion do not vote, do not run for political office, or engage in war. The word "ecclesia" is used by Christadelphians instead of church. Ecc

No. 1022 - South Hobart - Davey Street Wesleyan Chapel (1838-1870)

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Davey Street Methodist Chapel was one of a number of Wesleyan-Methodist Sunday schools established in the greater Hobart area during the 1820s and 1830s. Sunday schools were sometimes also used as day schools and most served as places of worship. In fact a number of Hobart’s historic Methodist churches originated as humble Sunday schools. Hobart’s first Methodist Sunday school opened with 23 scholars on May 13, 1821. Robert Household and John Hiddlestone were the first superintendents. In 1824 a Methodist Sunday School Union was formed and schools were established at Liverpool Street; Sandy Bay; Kangaroo Point; O'Brien's Bridge and at the Penitentiary. A school was also established in a room near the corner of Liverpool and Harrington Streets. In 1832 a Sunday school and chapel was established in a house in Argyle Street. At a Sunday School Union meeting held on August 27, 1834, a motion was passed find suitable premises to rent for a Sunday school in either Davey or Macquarie

No. 1021 - Westbury - Wesleyan Methodist Chapel (1840-1866)

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Westbury is a historic town situated approximately 30 kilometres west of Launceston. It was surveyed in 1828 and was developed as an administrative centre for the district. For most of its history Westbury has been served by only three religious denominations. The town’s Catholic, Anglican and Uniting (Methodist) churches all date back to the first half of the 19th century. The Uniting Church located on William Street is the second Methodist church built in the town. It replaced the original Wesleyan chapel which was built and opened in 1840. The origins of Methodist activity in Westbury is outlined in Reverend Max Stansell’s book, Tasmanian Methodism: “On 11 July 1937 Rev. J.A. Manton of Launceston was requested to visit Westbury with the idea of establishing a preaching place. Within a few months of his visit a Methodist Class was formed. One acre of ground was granted by the Surveyor-General under a Location Order to Revs. J. Orton, J.A. Manton and W. Simpson at Westbury on 15 Nov