No. 67 - Winkleigh Presbyterian Church - A Tale of Two Churches

The Presbyterian Church at Winkleigh opened in November 1887. Prior to this Presbyterian and Wesleyan congregations had shared the same building. The two communities continued to cooperate right up until the end of the partnership as is revealed in the following account:

“The sawn timber for the new Presbyterian Church' has arrived from Emu Bay and been landed at Blackwall, but this not being in accordance with agreement, has naturally caused dissatisfaction. The agreement stated that the timber should be landed at Dixon's Point, but as Blackwall was a little more convenient for the boatman, he, at much inconvenience to the people here, bundled the timber out there…. At last the Winkleigh church property has been finally and forever settled. Since my last communication the joint trustees met and for the sum of 5(shillings) the property was duly transferred to the Wesleyans. At the dissolution of the trust the best of goodwill prevailed; none of the ex-Presbyterian trustees would take charge of the 5(shillings), so the Rev. H. S. Anderson, on behalf of the Presbyterian Church, did so, and subsequently gave the amount to the newly-appointed Wesleyan trustees, to go towards the repair of the old church. The Presbyterians are still to be permitted to use the building, until they can succeed in getting their new church built”. (The Tasmanian Saturday 18 June 1887)

In January 1888, celebratory and fundraising events following the opening of the new Presbyterian Church were reported by the Tasmanian:

“On the following Wednesday the inevitable tea-meeting took place in Mr K. Campbell's barn, followed by a public meeting in the church. Having done full justice to the good things provided in the usual sumptuous style, we went over to inspect the new building, which is situated at the angle of Winkleigh road… on land presented by Mr (Alexander) McKenzie. Tho dimensions of the church are 30ft. by 18ft. with a 7ft. by 7ft. porch; it is lighted by six 2ft. by 6ft. Gothic windows three on each side, and two 15in. by 6ft. in front, on each side of the porch. The upper portion of, the six large windows open inwards, and the foul air is expelled by three circular ventilators in the roof…..There is comfortable sitting accommodation for about 100, but a good number more can be seated when necessary”.

The two churches continued to coexist for the next 60 years until 1951 when the old Wesleyan church was transported to Exeter for use as a hall for the Methodist Church in the town. The Presbyterian Church however remains in Winkleigh but has long closed for services and is now used as a private dwelling.

The Winkleigh church has changed little since the description in the Tasmanian newspaper 130 years ago. However the nature of religious life in this region has changed significantly and the Presbyterian Church is the last reminder of a once thriving Christian community that once populated the area.

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018


Examiner Saturday 13 September 1937

The Tasmanian Saturday 14 January 1888

The Tasmanian Saturday 18 June 1887


  1. We were either the last, or among the few last, wedding at Winkleigh in March, 1983. The church was freshly painted and looked tremendous.


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