No. 39 - Christ Church at Low Head - Consecration via 'Tug Boat'

The construction of this pretty little church at Low Head back in 1877 provides an insight into the way of life along the Tamar River in the latter half of the 19th century. Seven years later Christ Church was consecrated, the delay arising partly from a dispute over whether it was to be a non-denominational or Anglican Church. Although the George Town Anglican rector used it regularly it was also used occasionally by visiting clergy of other denominations, especially the Rev Charles Price of Launceston. The Daily Telegraph's report on its consecration in 1884 explained that:

“An impression got abroad that the building when first erected was to be a place of public worship, wherein approved ministers of all denominations might hold religious services, but the subscription lists were issued and the grant of land given for a church in connection with the Church of England and no other. It has been constantly used since its erection, although owing to a slight difficulty over the deeds of the land and a little apathy shewn by the residents of the settlement it was not consecrated till yesterday”.



The consecration was one of great pomp and ceremony with Bishop Sandford arriving from Launceston on the ‘tug’ Tamar.

The Daily Telegraph observed that:

"The little settlement was quite busy, with people, who had assembled from George Town and the opposite side of the river. When the tug arrived, and bunting was flying pretty freely: At 12 o'clock precisely, the little church being crowded, His Lordship, who was followed by Archdeacon Hales,… was met in the porch by Mr James Long…”

James Long, who at the time owned and farmed most of the land at Low Head, had donated the ground on which the church was built. Long presented a petition to the Bishop, which requested that:

“…a piece of land situated at Low Heads…is the property of the Church of England in Tasmania; that a church, to be called the Church of Christ hath been erected and built on part of the said land for the worship herein of Almighty God, according to the rites and ceremonies of the Church of England in Tasmania…”


Bishop Sandford thanked Mr Long for the petition and directed that the service proceed. After refreshments:

“…the party embarked on board the tug again and took their departure at 3.30 pm for town (Launceston), which was reached at 7.15 pm".

The church continues to serve the local community and is listed on the Tasmanian Heritage Register which describes it as a “weatherboard church in the Victorian Carpenter Gothic Style".

Photo: Duncan Grant 2018

Photo: Duncan Grant 2018

Photo: Duncan Grant 2018

The "PS Tamar" moored in front of the Marine Board Office at Launceston  - Launceston Library, State Library of Tasmania.


Sources

Daily Telegraph (Launceston) Friday 21 March 1884

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