No. 20 - Exeter Uniting Church
Exeter Uniting Church is a rather plain looking weatherboard building but its history is of interest. It is in fact not one church but two, and as such, it has also deserved a mention in my Vanished Churches of Tasmania companion blog! Established 1916, it is Exeter’s oldest existing church but it actually has an even older history. In December 1951, the church became the new home for the Winkleigh Methodist Church, which was transported to Exeter as an extra building on-site. (see advertisement for tender below) The two sections were later joined to make one larger building. The form of the old Winkleigh church can best be see in the black and white photo below.
The church celebrated its centenary in 2016 but Methodist services in Exeter took place at least two years before the church was built with meetings taking place at the Gravelly Beach Hall and the Exeter Showgrounds Hall. The earliest Methodist Church in the West Tamar region is the historic church at Supply River, which will be covered in a separate blog entry.
A report in the Examiner describes the churches opening in 1916:
NEW METHODIST CHURCH.
OPENING SERVICES AT EXETER.
Six or seven years ago the place where the township of Exeter now stands was but a bush road. Now it appears as a prosperous little township, and all its surrounding district has been cut up into orchards. Two years ago the Launceston Methodist Circuit placed a young minister down the Tamar to supply the spiritual requirements of these growing districts, and, as a result of his work, last Sunday a new church was opened at Exeter, the first to be erected in the town. The building is a splendid one. It is situated in a high and central spot, and is clearly visible from each of the four roads which meet in Exeter. The opening services had been eagerly looked forward to, and when at mid day on Sunday the rain began to fall, those interested were filled with disappointment. Although towards 3 o’clock the rain was falling very heavily, and no signs of abating, still the people flocked along Everyone was somewhat wet, but everyone was happy, and be fore the service was commenced the seating accommodation was filled. Forms were placed along the aisle and in the front porch, so if the weather had kept fine the problem would have been where to put the people, for many were unable to be present who purposed at tending. It is estimated that 150 were present. Among them were the Warden of the Beaconsfield municipality (Mr. T. G. Brown) and other councillors.
|Exeter Methodist Church in 1955. Picture: QVMAG|
Examiner 29 November 1951
The Examiner April 2, 2016
The Examiner November 29, 1951