No. 87 - Former Methodist Church Perth - "A Serious Drawback"

The Wesleyan chapel in Perth is the oldest existing church in the town, opening in 1838. It was built through the efforts of the Reverend J.A. Manton with the support of Lieutenant George Palmer Ball of Mountford. The arrival of the new church was not entirely welcomed as is clear from a report in the Cornwall Chronicle:

“The first stone of a small Preaching House…has lately been laid by Lieutenant Ball, of Norfolk Plains, in the beautiful little village of Perth, for the use of the Methodist Society in that place. We understand the building will be erected entirely at the cost of the gentleman above named, without any appeal either to his friends or the public for pecuniary assistance… In noticing the introduction of Methodism into Perth, we cannot but regret, that while the Society is calculated to be exceedingly useful to the population generally, and to the Church of England in particular, out of which its members are chiefly collected, the constant tendency in the society to separation and division from the Church, is a serious drawback from advantages it may confer”.

This mildly critical tone might have arisen from the fact that the Church of England was in the process of opening a new church in Perth in the same year. Nevertheless, the two denominations coexisted and were joined by a Baptist community in the 1860’s. The Catholics never seemed to have a significant presence in the town and would have to be content with travelling to nearby Longford.

The history of the Perth church seems largely uneventful although the Reverend Manton nearly drowned after he crossed the South Esk River following a service at the chapel. Well known preacher Henry Reed would sometimes walk to the Perth Methodist Church from Launceston to speak. An entrance porch was added to the church in 1897 and in the same year a Sunday school commenced. This was conducted in the church building until 1933 when the Victoria Hall was built for this purpose.

In 1977, the amalgamation of Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational churches saw the Perth Methodist Church become part of Uniting Church. It continued to operate until 2003, when the congregation dwindled, and subsequently joined with Longford and Cressy. After its closure it was sold and is now used as a café business premises.


Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

The Methodist Sunday School Hall (above) was built after the demolition of the original Victoria Hall.  The Victoria Hall stood on the site of the Service Station at the corner of Drummond Street and Midlands Highway. It was used for Methodist Sunday School anniversaries, State School end of year celebrations and concerts during WWII. It was dismantled owing to its unstable condition. Contributed by Frank Button.  (Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018)

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Sources:

Mercury Friday 19 August 1938
Cornwall Chronicle Saturday 18 August 1838
Examiner 1 October 2016
Rev Stansall et al, Tasmanian Methodism 1820-1975

Comments

  1. I spent my boyhood on Perth. The Victoria Hall built 1880 was on the site of the Service Station crn Drummond Street and Midlands Highway. It was used for Methodist Sunday School anniversaries, State School end of year celebrations, concerts during the WWII and was dismantled owing to it's unstable condition. The photo that you have tagged Victoria Hall is generally known as the Methodist Sunday School Hall and was built after the demolition of the original Victoria Hall.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for pointing this out Frank. I guessed it was Victoria Hall - I will correct the article with your information. This article was written some time ago and it is probably time for an update!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Welcome to Churches of Tasmania

No. 1058 - Strahan - St Finn Barr's Catholic Church (1900-2005)

No. 1017 - Hobart - St Peter's Hall