No. 72 - Hagley Wesleyan-Methodist Church

Hagley is a rural town in Northern Tasmania situated approximately 20 kilometres southwest of Launceston. Three religious denominations once had a presence in the town and four churches were built: the Anglican church of St Mary’s; a Presbyterian church (which is now a house) and a Wesleyan Methodist chapel built in 1859. This was replaced by a modern church built in 1957 which sits alongside the old chapel and which was retained as a Sunday school building and hall.

in the 1840’s Wesleyan services in Hagley were held in a farmhouse in Hoggs Lane. In the 1850’s fundraising began to build a church on land donated by George Scott of ‘Woodside’ near Hagley. A weatherboard building 40 foot in length with a two roomed caretakers cottage was opened in March 1859. The opening service is recorded by a report in the Launceston Examiner:

“A neat and commodious Wesleyan Chapel has lately been erected in this locality, on land kindly given by Mr. George Scott, who also manifested great interest in the erection of the building. The opening services were as follows: On Sabbath, March 27th, two most impressive and appropriate sermons were preached by the Rev. J. A. Manton, of Horton College, Boss, to crowded congregations. On the following day about 250 persons sat down to tea in the chapel, after which the chapel building account was read by the treasurer, It. H. Douglas Esq, which showed that the cost of the building and its furniture was £370, to meet which £240 had been privately subscribed, and £30 10s. collected on the Sabbath leaving a debt of £99 10s to be liquidated by that meeting, on the announcement of which, in a very short time, the sum was subscribed by the friends present, and a small balance left in the hands of the treasurer. The meeting was addressed by the Revs. J. A. Manton, Joseph Fillingham, and Richard W. Owen and Messrs. Douglas and Stanley. Mr Manton gave a very interesting review of the rise and progress of Wesleyan-Methodism in Tasmania, in which district he has been located for the last twenty-seven years. The Rev. J. Fillingham adverted to the material and spiritual extension of Wesleyanism on the Westbury Circuit; and to the uniform kindness and attention of those amongst whom he had laboured four the last three years; and stated that be should always have a grateful recollection of his sojourn in this district. After the singing of the doxology, the blessing was pronounced by Mlr. Fillingham and the friends separated evidently much gratified”.

Later a wooden stable and store were added, a stable being a necessary adjunct to a Church in the early days. A further block of land for a cemetery was acquired in 1864.

 The Presbyterian community also used the chapel on occasion, most notably in the late 1870’s while their new chapel was under construction.

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

The old church in better days - Source: Linc Tasmania Object number: WEHS_0122
The Cornwall Chronicle


Cornwall Chronicle, Wednesday 23 March 1859, page 2
Launceston Examiner, Thursday 7 April 1859, page 2

The Meander Valley Gazette February 2016

Stansall, M. E. J and Methodist Church of Australasia Tasmanian Methodism, 1820-1975 : compiled at the time of last Meeting of Methodism prior to union. Methodist Church of Australasia, Launceston, Tas, 1975.

K R von Stieglitz; Then and Now in Old Westbury, 1946

Examiner Thursday 21 May 1953


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