No. 27 - Frankford - Primitive Methodist Church (1886) 'An unpretending structure'

Frankford is a rural settlement about 40 kilometres north west of Launceston. The old village was once used as a way station. The Frankford Road links the West Tamar with the Port Sorell area with Frankford being the largest settlement on the route.

In the 19th century Frankford's remoteness was exacerbated by the extremely poor state of the roads. This gave the district an atmosphere of isolation although it was less than 20 kilometres from mining town of Beaconsfield. A visitor described the area in 1884:

“Soon after we pass the pretty little schoolhouse in course of erection; a few neglected paddocks, full of firewood and all abominations, show absentees, and then we come to the farm of the district (Mr. Hamilton's), but it does not fall to the lot of all settlers to have such a lot of stalwart sons to help him; this seems a good farm, well farmed. The next location is Mr. Kerns, storekeeper, etc. He seems to have a large extent cleared, but the brake fern [sic] seems a terrible nuisance to him. He has a small portion cleared; seemingly for potatoes, and on a wattle in front of this plot is a placard with ' Church Site' written on it. On the opposite side, almost hidden by a curtain of scrub with seemingly no access to the road, is Mr. Shute's farm, of which I can say nothing, as we cannot see it. A piece of wretched road, full of pitfalls and quagmires, occupies our full attention…”

The “church site” mentioned by the was that of the Primitive Methodist church which was eventually built in 1886. A tender for the church’s construction was advertised in February 1886. The Examiner reported:

“The drawing shows a neat unpretending structure of sawn timber, with Gothic door and windows, capable of seating a congregation of about 100, so we trust before three months to have a central place of worship all might attend”.

The church’s official opening was advertised to take place on Sunday 6 June 1886 however the building was not completed in time. The Launceston Examiner’s local correspondent reported:

“Last Sunday the Primitive Methodists opened their chapel in the Public School - don’t think this is a bull, it is a fact. Being in a great hurry to open their building they advertised that event to take place last Sunday, with the result that it was not finished, and they had to hold the service in the school! They had a fair gathering, but the day being damp, and there being an uncertainty, about the building being ready, kept a great many away”.

The church was finally completed in July but it was not until November that a second official opening took place. On Sunday 7 November 1886 “special services” were held to celebrate the opening of the church with the Reverend Mr Madson preaching “morning and afternoon to large congregations”. In the previous month a Sunday School was officially opened and the Examiner reported that “nearly every child within reach was present”.

In 1938 the church was nearly destroyed in a storm. The Examiner reported that the building was extensively damaged when it was dislodged from its foundations shifting the church a distance of 10ft. Residents removed the furnishings fearing that the building might be “further wrecked”.

The Frankford Primitive Methodist Church joined the Methodist Union in 1902 and in 1977 it formed part of the Uniting Church. Services ceased in the 1990s. After building was later converted into a house and has also been used for holiday accomodation.

Location: Link to google maps HERE

The church in the 1990s. Source: Libraries Tasmania. Item number: LPIC/108/1/26

The church in 2018 (my photograph)

The church in 2018 (my photograph)

The Examiner - September 1938


Daily Telegraph, Wednesday 26 November 1884, page 3
Launceston Examiner, Wednesday 24 February 1886, page 3
Tasmanian, Saturday 12 June 1886, page 14
Daily Telegraph, Monday 14 June 1886, page 3
The Tasmanian, Saturday 26 June 1886, page 13
Launceston Examiner, Saturday 2 October 1886, page 1
Daily Telegraph, Monday 15 November 1886, page 3
Examiner, Thursday 15 September 1938, page 4

Stansall, M. E. J. and Methodist Church of Australasia. Tasmanian Methodism, 1820-1975 / [by M.E.J. Stansall ... et al] Methodist Church of Australasia Launceston, Tas 1975


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