No. 8 - Longford - Christ Church (1844)

Longford is a 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 settlement was originally called Latour but in 1833 it was renamed Longford.

Christ Church was constructed between 1839 and 1844 to a design of Robert de Little. It is the third church built on this site. The first church, which built in 1829, was no more than a temporary wooden structure until a more substantial church could be built. The second church, St Augustine’s, was completed in 1831 but was used for only a few years before it was dismantled in 1842. See: No. 468 and No. 1237.

The history of the present church:

In December 1838 tenders were called for the erection of a new church. In March 1839 the corner stone was laid by Governor Sir John Franklin. It was intended that the new church would be the “cathedral church” of the district and that the neighbouring villages would have made this their place of worship.

The new church was a long time building only being completed in 1844. A shortage of funds resulted in the tower not being built to its full height with battlements and finials. Instead a wooden top was substituted to house a clock and bell.

An impressive feature of the church is its west window, which was presented by Mr. Charles Reid, a resident of the district. The clock and bell were provided by the Government at a cost of £200. Christ Church was opened by Bishop Nixon on 6 October 1844.

There were few changes made to the building until 1874 when the church was renovated under the supervision of architect Harry Conway. Scaffolding which supported the roof was replaced by iron columns which were painted to resemble grey granite. Shingling on the roof was replaced with slate and the old-fashioned pews with doors were removed. The west window was repaired and backed with plate glass. The total cost of restoration was £1300. However another 90 years were to pass before the the tower was completed in the 1960s.

Further information about the church, including its bell, windows and organ is provided in the following articles which have links provided:

The chancel window
The original clock
The pipe organ

The original tower with the wooden enclosure housing the bell - source Photo from the State Library of Victoria.


Mercury, Monday 28 May 1928, page 3
Examiner, Wednesday 30 May 1928, page 5
Examiner, Wednesday 27 September 1944, page 6

A Short Account of Christ Church, Longford : erected 1839, dedicated 1844 The Church? [Longford, Tas.? 1948


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