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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. 1144 - Campbell Town - St Luke's Sunday School (1845)

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This entry is another in a series of articles 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 basic record of some of the most significant of these buildings, including those which 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. In 1835 colonial architect John Lee Archer drew up plans for an Anglican church. In the same year Governor George Arthur laid the foundation stone for St Luke’s. However, serious defects in the structure meant that it had to be rebuilt from the windows up

No. 1143 - Port Arthur - Point Puer Chapel (1834-1849)

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Point Puer, situated on a narrow peninsula directly east of Port Arthur, was the site of Australia’s first purpose-built reforming institution for criminal boys. Operating from 1834 to 1849, it was initiated by Lt-Governor Arthur with the aim of making constructive colonial citizens out of transported boys through education, trade training and religious instruction. The degree to which this was achieved is a matter for debate. On 10 January 1834, 68 boys arrived at Point Puer along with supplies needed to establish the site. By the end of the decade 500 boys were living at Point Puer. Between 1842 and 1844 the numbers peaked at around 800. However, by the mid 1840s Point Puer was in rapid decline. The construction of the Parkhurst Reformatory on the Isle of Wight in 1838 resulted in fewer boys being transported to Australia. Point Puer closed in 1849 by which time about 3500 boys had passed through the institution. Most of the boys were aged between 15 and 17, a smaller number were und

No. 1142 - Launceston - St Aidan's Sunday School Hall (1919)

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This entry is another in a series of articles 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 basic record of some of the most significant of these buildings, including those which no longer exist. St Aidan’s Anglican Church in East Launceston dates back to 1892 when a branch Sunday school of St John's Church opened in a shop at the corner of Abbott and Arthur streets. In 1894 St Aidan’s church was built to serve the growing eastern suburb of the city. In 1919 St Aidan’s established a dedicated hall for the Sunday school established in 1892. The foundation stone for new “St Aidan’s Schoolroom” was officially laid on Tuesday 13 May 1919. The Launceston Examiner published an account of the occasion: “His Excellency the Governor (Sir Francis Newd

No. 1141 - Longley - St Luke's Anglican Church (1932-1967)

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Longley is a rural settlement approximately 20 kilometres south of Hobart. The general area was originally named Leslie, a name that has been preserved in Leslie Hill which lies 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 1893. This building was lost in the ‘great bushfires’ that swept across southern Tasmania in the summer of 1897/8. [ see No. 1034 ] A second church was built and rededicated to St Luke in 1898. [ see No. 1088 ] This building was similarly destroyed in the bushfires of 1931. A third church that was built in 1932 was lost in the 1967 bushfires. This building was not replaced. The focus of this article is on Longley’s third and last Anglican church. The foundation stone for Longley’s third church was ceremonially laid on Sunday 5 June 1932. The Hobart Mercury provided detailed coverage of the event: “Historic associ

No. 1140 - Crabtree - St David's Anglican Church (1929-1967)

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Crabtree is a rural settlement in the local government area of the Huon Valley and is situated about 15 kilometres north of Huonville. It was once an important timber and orchard-growing district. The settlement is named after the Crabtree Rivulet and the abundant crab apple trees that grew in the valley. Crabtree had only two places of worship; a Salvation Army hall which was built in 1917 and an Anglican church hall which opened in 1929. Crabtree’s Anglican church was designed as a community hall and a place of worship. The building, which was built by Mr James Lucas, used sliding doors to screen off one end of the main hall in which the pulpit and other church furnishings were located. Land for the church was donated by Mr Charles Parsons. On Sunday 14 July 1929, the newly completed church hall was dedicated to St David. The Huon Times published a report on the occasion: “On Sunday, last the dedication of the new church hall, recently erected at Crabtree, was celebrated by his Lords

No. 1139 - Scottsdale - St Patrick's Catholic Church "The Log Cabin Church" (1978-1992)

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Scottsdale is the largest town in north-east Tasmania. It is named after the Government Surveyor, James Scott, who explored the region in the 1850’s. Scottsdale's first Catholic church opened in 1886 and was consecrated in the following year. In 1909 the building was moved to a new site to the north of the town. St Patrick's was reopened and rededicated on 30 January 1910. In 1978 the church was demolished and replaced by the “Log Cabin” church which opened in the same year. The altar and other items from the old church were moved to the new building. The new church was opened by archbishop Guilford Young on 10 December 1978. The unique church was constructed of locally grown pine and built with volunteer labour. In December 1992 disaster struck when Advent candles accidentally left alight resulted in a fire that engulfed and destroyed the building. Mass was held in Scottsdale’s C.W.A. Hall until the present church was built and opened in September 1994. St Patrick's Cat

No. 1138 - Pontville - Congregational Chapel (1857-1874)

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Pontville’s origins date back to 1821 when Governor Macquarie selected a site on the Jordan River as the location for a military barracks. The origin of the name Pontville is unclear but it literally translates from the French as 'bridge town’. The village of Pontville was officially established in 1838. The earliest Congregational services at Pontville were held at the local courthouse. They were led by Reverend Joseph Beazley, who had been appointed by the Colonial Missionary Society as minister at nearby Green Ponds (Kempton) . In 1857 a small stone chapel was built above the banks of the River Jordan. It was located next to the old Congregational cemetery which was established in 1854. The chapel officially opened on Tuesday 16 June 1857. No description or image of the building is known to exist. In early 1874 the foundations of the church began to subside making the building unsafe. The church’s trustees decided to build a new church on a site on the opposite bank of the

No. 1137 - Latrobe - Congregational Church (1878-1900)

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Latrobe is a large country town situated between the Bass Highway and the River Mersey. The first dwelling was built in 1836 and land sales took place some 20 years later. The settlement was named after Charles LaTrobe, who acted as Lieutenant-Governor of Tasmania in 1846-7. Latrobe was once an important port town with boats operating from Bells Parade until the River Mersey silted up. Congregationalists were active in the North West since the late 1840s. By the late 1870s churches had been built at Forth, Don River, Devonport and Ulverstone. In March 1877, the Congregational Union received a letter “from several persons at Latrobe expressing the wish that a Congregational church might be established there”. By August 1887 plans for a brick church were well underway and architect Harry Conway was engaged. The Tasmanian reported: “Rev. M.W. Bradney,… held a sort of initiatory service, which was attended by about 120 persons. After the service a committee formed. A piece of ground betw

No. 1136 - Hobart - Memorial Uniting (Congregational) Church (1872-2003)

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Hobart’s former Memorial Congregational Church, situated at the corner of Brisbane and Elizabeth Streets, was constructed in 1870 to replace an earlier church built in 1832. [ see No. 1081 ] It was named the ‘Memorial Church’ to commemorate the introduction of Congregationalism to Tasmania. In 1830, Reverend Frederick Miller, Australia’s first Congregational minister arrived in Hobart. Miller’s recruitment from Britain was the result of financial assistance provided by Henry Hopkins, a prominent local businessman. Fifty years after after Miller’s arrival in Hobart, a memorial foundation stone for the new church was ceremonially laid by Henry Hopkins on 16 August 1870. The date coincided with Henry Hopkins’ 83rd birthday. Two years later the church was completed and was officially opened on Thursday 7 November 1872. In the week before the church opened, the Hobart Mercury published an article outlining the events leading to the church’s construction: “When the subject [of the need of

No. 1135 - Trial Harbour - Orient Mine Methodist Church (1883-1885) - 'The First Church on the West Coast'

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Trial Harbour is small coastal community on Tasmania’s West Coast. Trial Harbour once served as a port for Zeehan, providing an important function in the development of the mining industry in the region. Originally called ‘Remine’, the settlement was renamed Trial Harbour in 1881. Situated approximately 5 kilometres east of Trial Harbour was the short-lived “Orient Mine”, which has the distinction of being the site of the first church built on the West Coast. The Orient Mine was established in 1881 to extract tin from the Heemskirk tin fields in the vicinity of Mount Agnew. By the mid 1880s the mine had failed and was abandoned. The mine was later incorporated into the more successful Mayne’s Mine in 1902. A traveller who passed through the area in 1888 described the defunct settlement around the abandoned Orient mine: “When passing Mount Agnew we saw the now abandoned Orient tin mine, a standing record of a shareholders’ money wasted and labour lost. The huts and workings are still