No. 80 - St. David's Selbourne - Mercer's Last Liturgy

The former St. David's Anglican church is situated in the hamlet of Selbourne outside Westbury. It was consecrated by Bishop John Mercer on the 2nd of March 1914. This must have been the last church dedicated by Mercer, who returned to England permanently less than two weeks later. The dedication of the church was reported in the Launceston Daily Telegraph: 

“Yesterday Bishop Mercer paid a visit to the isolated but prosperous district of Selbourne, near Hagley, for the purpose of dedicating the new church which has been recently erected there. The Bishop, accompanied by Archdeacon Beresford, motored out in Mr Perrin's car, which had been placed at his disposal. The new church is named St. David's… The dedication ceremony was performed in the presence of a large gathering. An address on the nature and purpose of dedication was given by his Lordship, after which a picnic, which was joined in by Dr Mercer, was held in honour of the occasion. The Bishop was struck with the happy and prosperous appearance of the inhabitants of this secluded but thriving district. The community, though self-contained is a cheerful and contented one”.

The community indeed seems to have suffered from isolation because little can be found in local newspaper reports about the church apart from the occasional marriage or community event. St David's was closed on the 17th of January 1999 and is now privately owned.

The church is listed on the Tasmanian Heritage Register and is described as:

“…made from weatherboard and contains a steeply pitched gabled roof clad in corrugated iron. Timber crosses are fixed at both ends of this gabled roof. A gabled portico with arched doorway is at the front of the building, while at the rear is a faceted sanctuary with a pyramidal roof. On each side of the building there are two arched windows”.

From the photographs that I took recently it appears that the church has been partly re-clad with Colorbond sheeting and has lost its timber crosses but otherwise seems to be intact.

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

St David's in better times: source - LINC Tasmania Object number: WEHS_0089


Daily Telegraph Tuesday 3 March 1914
Geoffrey Stephens, The Anglican Church in Tasmania, 1992.
Tasmanian Heritage Register


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