No. 14 - St Francis Xavier Church Beaconsfield

This unassuming church was blessed, opened and dedicated on Sunday 28th June 1891 by Archbishop Murphy and assisted by Dean Beechinor and Father O’Mahoney. The foundation stone was laid and blessed, on May 11, 1890

Like many churches of the time, it only consisted of the nave; the sanctuary and sacristy were completed in 1899. From the 1880s until the early 1900s, Beaconsfield was a thriving gold mining town and one of the largest towns in Tasmania.

At the request of Dean Beechinor the Presentation Sisters from Launceston founded a convent here in 1899. There was great celebration as four sisters led by Mother Paul Boylston arrived by boat. School was held in the church during the week. Forty original students rapidly grew to 70 by the end of the year. By this time the town had grown to 6,500 in population. At one point Beaconsfield was the richest gold mining town in Tasmania. However water flooding problems led to the mine closing in 1914. Town numbers diminished though the Presentation Sisters school continued. These were years in which there was great poverty among the people. The school eventually closed in 1968, having educated 2000 students during its time.

A feature of the church hall wall, the miners’ memorial was originally built by Fr Ted Lloyd as a thank you to the community for working on the grounds of the church, hall and school when he was parish priest in 1959-60. The present memorial is about a quarter the size of the original.

Black & white photo taken in 2016 to clearly capture interior features of the church.


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