No. 53 - The City Baptist Church Launceston - A Church on Wheels

The City Baptist Church, previously Christ Church Congregational Church, the name by which it has been known for most of its existence, is the third church that served the Congregational community.

In 1839 the Congregational church used a wooden building lower down Frederick Street. The Reverend John West bought this building “then considered an old one, and erected in another part of the town…and [had it] removed on wheels to the allotment in Frederick Street, where it was converted into a chapel, and was used for public worship…”. (The Examiner 23 May 1885)

In 1842 new Independent Chapel on St John’s Square replaced the wooden chapel.  In 1885, a third church was built to replace the Princes Square Congregational Chapel (now called Milton Hall) and it was renamed Christ Church on this occasion.

A report in the Examiner in October 1885 described the features of the new Christ Church:

“The building is of Gothic design, with a spire nearly 120ft. high at the north-eastern corner. The nave of the church is 100ft. by 46ft. clear in side measurement…. The interior of the church presents a somewhat novel appearance, the roof, which is of closed Gothic design, being in one span from wall to wall, and thus avoiding the necessity of pillars, which are always in somebody's way. The ceiling is lined with boards and covered at the springing…. The church is lighted by a number of windows glazed with cathedral glass, while for use in the evenings there are three gasaliers in the roof, with sixteen burners each. …The pews are very comfortable, and in appearance are very neat. The acoustic properties of the church, so far as they have been tested, seem to be all that could be desired…”

Christ Church Congregational experienced many changes over the next century. In 1975 it combined with Chalmers Presbyterian Church and the Paterson Street Methodist Church to become Pilgrim Uniting Church. In 1983, Central Baptist Church bought the building as well as the adjoining Milton Hall with both renamed the Christ Church Baptist Church. In 2001 it was renamed again as the City Baptist Church following its merger with the Elphin Road Baptist Church. From a church that was 'wheeled' to Frederick street before permanently settling at St John's Square, it has literally come a long way. 

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

The Old Congregational Church (Milton Hall) can be seen to the right of the new church. Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

City Baptist Church, Launceston : interior before 1900
[photograph from the Architecture & Planning Library, University of Melbourne]


Examiner 23 May 1885
Examiner 20 October 1885


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