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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. 1457 - Franklin - St Mary's Catholic Church (1856-2013)

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Franklin is a small town on the Huon Highway approximately 45 kilometres south of Hobart. It was established in 1804 and was the first settlement in the Huon district. It was named after the Governor of Tasmania, Sir John Franklin. Until the 1930s Franklin was a major town in the Huon Valley with its own court house, several hotels, a public hall and four churches. St Mary’s church is one of the oldest Catholic churches in the Huon Valley and served a sizeable population of Irish Catholics in the district. Many were of convict descent and the Catholic Church saw it as its mission to bring about “moral improvement” in a desperately poor community plagued by crime and drunkenness. Catholic church historian, Fr Terry Southerwood, recounts a letter written by Jane Therry, to her priest-brother, describing the opening of St Mary’s church in November 1856: “Jane first reported that the day was not propitious when Bishop Willson, Father Hall, Father Hunter and “several other clergyman and me

No. 1456 - Hobart - St Peter's Hall (1904)

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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 of those that no longer exist. St Peter’s Hall is located on the corner of Harrington Street and Brisbane Street Street and falls within St Mary’s Cathedral precinct. The building originally stood on lower Collins Street before it was dismantled and reconstructed at its present site in 1904. St Peter’s Hall was built in 1855 as a Catholic temperance hall and school house as well as for occasional religious services. It was designed by convict architect Frederick Thomas and built by John Gillon and Henry Shaw under the direction of Henry Hunter. The hall’s removal and reconstruction was completed by early 1904 and it was officially reopened on Su

No. 1455 - Bruny Island - Variety Bay - St Peter's Anglican Church (1846)

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Variety Bay is located on North Bruny Island which lies off the southeastern coast of Tasmania. In 1831 a pilot station was established at Variety Bay to direct shipping into Hobart. Convict labour was used to build the station as well as a church that was constructed in 1846. The ruins of St Peter’s, which was the first Anglican church built south of Hobart, are situated about 1500 metres south of the station. St Peter’s church has a strong link with Bishop Francis Russell Nixon, the first Anglican Bishop of Tasmania, and Captain William Laurence, the pilot at the Variety Bay station. The church was constructed as a consequence of a meeting between Lawrence and Nixon upon the Bishop’s arrival in Van Diemen’s Land in July 1843. Three years later, when Nixon was about to depart Van Diemen’s Land for England on official business, he recalled his encounter with Lawrence who had piloted the ship ‘Duke of Roxburgh’ into Hobart: “…I must go to the first day of my arrival in the colony, and t

No. 1454 - Longford - Methodist Sunday School (1902)

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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 of those that no longer exist. Longford is an historical country town approximately 25 kilometres south of Launceston. The district around Longford was first known as the Norfolk Plains after the Norfolk Islanders who were resettled here in 1813. The Wesleyan-Methodist activity at Longford began in 1834 under the guidance of Reverend John Manton of Launceston. In 1836 the first chapel was built on Wellington Street on land donated by Joseph Heazlewood. Due to faulty foundations the building became unstable and was deemed too expensive to repair. In 1880 a new church was built on High Street while the Wellington street building was used as a Sund

No. 1453 - Sandy Bay - St Stephen's Hall

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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 of those that no longer exist. Sandy Bay is a southern suburb of Hobart. It is believed that it was named by Reverend Robert Knopwood while he was out on the Derwent on a whaling boat. The northern half of Sandy Bay was known as Queenborough between the years 1859 and 1878. St Stephen’s Anglican church is located in Lower Sandy Bay. In 1896 St Stephen’s was built to replace the old “Red Chapel” which had opened as a ‘union church’ in 1858. In 1917 a parish hall and Sunday school was built alongside the new church. The foundation stone was laid by the Dean of Hobart and officially opened in May 1917. The Mercury reported: 
“Yesterday afternoon,

No. 1452 - Queenstown South - "The Tin Church" (1900-1960)

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Queenstown is the main town in West Coast region and is named in honour of Queen Victoria. At one time it was Tasmania's third largest town. Like all towns on the west coast it has a long history of mining. Queenstown South is a southern suburb of the town that spread along the road leading to Lynchford and straddled the Queen River. The Methodist Church at Queenstown South was officially opened on Sunday 1 July 1900. It was a corrugated iron building that was used for about 60 years as a Sunday school and for church services. In 1960 it was decided to transport children and the congregation to Queenstown Methodist Church rather than meet separately. The building was sold and a store was built on the site. A brief report concerning the opening of the church appears in the 'Mount Lyell Standard': "Yesterday afternoon the church which has been erected by the Wesleyan denomination in South Queenstown, opposite the Railway Hotel, was opened by a service which was conducted

No. 1451 - Franklin - Congregational Church (1843-1938)

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Franklin is a small town on the Huon Highway approximately 45 kilometres south of Hobart. Settled in 1804, it was the first settlement in the Huon area. It was named a Governor of Tasmania Sir John Franklin and his wife Lady Jane Franklin. Until the 1930s Franklin was the major town in the Huon Valley with its own court house, several hotels a Town Hall and four churches. The former Congregational church at Franklin was the oldest Congregational church in the Huon Valley. The building was demolished in the early 1940s. The church stood on Price Street (later renamed Kent Street). Congregational services were first held at Franklin in 1843 in a small room lent by Mr James Coleman. A Sunday School was started at the same time. A little weatherboard church was built by Mr William Geeves with financial assistance from Mr Henry Hopkins, of Hobart. In 1859 construction of a new stone church began with the foundation stone ceremonially laid on Monday 28 March. “The Foundation Stone of the new

No. 1450 - Perth - Temperance Hall (1847)

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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 of those that no longer exist. Perth is one of Tasmania’s oldest towns having being established in 1821 by Governor Lachlan Macquarie. Macquarie was so impressed with the area that he selected it as a site for a township. At the time Macquarie was hosted by pastoralist David Gibson and named it after Gibson's home town of Perth in Scotland. The former Temperance Hall at Perth is located on Clarence Street less that 100 metres from St Andrew’s Anglican church. In recent years the hall has been converted into a house. The hall is closely associated with Reverend Alfred Stackhouse* (1811–1876), a long-serving Anglican Minister at Perth. In addi

No. 1449 - Margate - Kingdom Hall

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Margate is a coastal town on the Channel Highway approximately 7 kilometres south of Kingston. The original settlement was closer to the sea however the modern commuter town is now centred along the highway where the town’s churches are located. Margate’s Kingdom Hall is located off Van Morey Street and borders on the local Primary School. 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 challenge to research. The fol

No. 1448 - Snake Banks [Powranna] - William Gibson's 'Eskdale Chapel' [1850]

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Snake Banks is the former name of Powranna, a district north of Epping Forest on the Midland Highway. The name was changed to Powranna in 1913, an Aboriginal word meaning 'black snake’. In 1850 a chapel was built by William Gibson on his property at Snake Banks. William was the fourth son of David Gibson, a convict who became a successful agriculturalist and pastoralist. Following William’s marriage to Mary Ann Blackler in 1843, the couple settled on 634 acres of land at Snake Banks which was given to him by his father. In about 1853 William Gibson moved to his estate at Native Point at Perth. William Gibson became a successful breeder of merino sheep and exported about £20 000 worth a year to merchants in other colonies. After the move to Native Point, the Gibson’s became prominent supporters of the Baptist movement and funded the construction of several Baptist churches in the north. The chapel built by Gibson on his property ‘Eskdale’ at Snake Banks should not be confused with