No. 29 - The Former St Michaels Anglican Church Rosevears

This is another chapel that I did not know existed until recently and is just up the river from where I live. It has been converted into a private residence yet the building retains its integrity and is in a beautiful setting. This is the Anglican Church of St Michaels at Rosevears on the Tamar River. I know very little about it apart from that it opened in 1911. Its date of closure is unknown. Any further information would be very welcome.

Once I worked out the denomination of the church its name, I was able to track down a newspaper report on its opening. There was another church (Methodist) in the vicinity and I initially thought it was the Craythorne Road Methodist Church. That will be the subject of another interesting story!

Most newspaper reports about the church relate to its annual harvest festival but a report from 1911 describes its opening ceremony and it is worth reading, if only for its quaintness.  At the end of the page, below the photographs, I have attached an interesting article giving a brief history of Rosevears, which might be of particular interest to readers who live along the Tamar. 

THE OPENING OF A CHURCH AT ROSEVEARS

On Saturday the new Anglican Church at Rosevears was opened and dedicated by the Bishop of Tasmania. Evensong was conducted by Archdeacon Beresford, the Revs. J. S. Bryers, W. B. Docker, and Birch. After the service the Bishop gave an address, in which he explained the difference between consecration and dedication, and wished the people to make their services light, attractive, and musical. He then proceeded to dedicate the church, which ceremony was very impressive. The church was beautifully decorated with flowers, and there was a large congregation, and a substantial collection was taken up. Later in the day one of the honorary collectors came with the news that he had been very successful. With the exception of one subscription, which is to come in, and a small loan from Hobart, the church will practically start out of debt. The Bishop, Archdeacon, and the clergy present examined the building, which they considered very substantial. At the conclusion of the ceremony afternoon tea, provided by the ladies of the congregation, was partaken of. Short speeches were made by the Bishop and Archdeacon. The carved altar table and reading desk is handsome and substantial, and is the gift of the Thomas Rosevear family. These were much admired. The Bible was given by Messrs. Hopwood and Co., prayer and hymn book by Messrs. Birchall and Son, but unfortunately the latter did not arrive in time for the service. The Bishop and party motored back to the city. Mrs. Muir presided at the organ, and appropriate hymns were sung by the choir. The harvest thanksgiving services were held in the new church on Sunday. The Rev. W. B. Docker conducted the service. The church was decorated by the ladies of the district….

The Examiner Wednesday 10 May 1911

In addition to my own photographs, I have included others from a real estate website which give some idea of how the interior of the church appeared before it was converted.







The interior of the church before it was converted: From Harcourts Tasmania Real Estate


The interior of the church before it was converted: From Harcourts Tasmania Real Estate


The interior of the church before it was converted: From Harcourts Tasmania Real Estate

One of the many notices about the churches activities : Examiner Wednesday 22 May 1940


THE ROSEVEARS PIONEERS (Examiner 8 August 1944)

Interest attaches to the history of the Rosevear family, formerly owners of the site of the town of Rosevears on the west bank of the Tamar, about 11 miles from Launceston. The first members of this branch of the family—Mr. and Mrs. William Henry Rosevear—arrived from England in the early eighties. They landed at Hobart Town, and after examining the prospects for settlers, decided to journey to Launceston. Finally, Mr. Rosevear was granted 640 acres of virgin land on the Tamar by the Lieutenant Governor. The grant was then known as Cimitiere Point. Although the blacks were very troublesome—it was in the year 1829—he built a dwelling from timber split and sawn from trees on his own property. The land was soon partially cleared and the first crop reaped was wheat, which was ground in the flour mill owned by Dr. Mathias Gaunt on the opposite side of the river. Some of this flour was sent to England, where it was awarded first prize at an agricultural show in 1830. The land to the south of Mr. Rosevear's property was settled by Mr. and Mrs. George Atkinson in 1832, and George and John Plummer, who were boat builders, received a grant on the northern side. 

Settlers Flock In. The Plummer brothers and the Atkinsons soon had their properties under cultivation, and other people quickly began to drift into the settlement and take up residence. Main industries at the time were wheat growing and sawmilling, the timber being shipped away. The Government requested Mr. Rosevear to build an inn or public house, and in 1848 he was granted a licence to keep an inn. The roadhouse became known as the Rose Inn. In 1854 Mr. Rosevear built the present brick hotel. Bricks for the building were obtained from a quarry on his own land, and the blackwood doors, which can be seen today. were cut from timber growing on the surrounding countryside. When Mr. Rosevear sen. died the property was divided between two sons,Thomas and Edward. Edward occupied the larger part of the cultivated land, now called Rose Hill. Thomas conducted the hotel and worked the land now known as Rosevears. The family relinquished control of the hotel some years ago. First it was let, then sold, and has since changed hands many times.





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