No. 107 - Saundridge Chapel - "Lord of the Harvest"

In 1862 Robert Joseph Archer of Saundridge donated the land and built this small chapel near Cressy. Robert Archer of the Archer dynasty, inherited the Saundridge estate from his father William Archer. He became a well-known local farmer and was briefly a member of the House of Assembly, representing Ringwood (modern Cressy). He was also a magistrate for some years. He sold the property to the Thirkell family in1875 and moved to Melbourne, where he died in 1914. A plaque within the chapel states that the building was provided for use by Protestant denominations; consequently both the Uniting Church and Anglicans still have access for services.

The chapel is used for worship several times a year as well as for private ceremonies. When Robert Archer retired he appointed his brother Alfred and his nephew Basil Archer as Trustees of the chapel. It continues to be maintained by trustees who have received some assistance from the National trust in restoring and maintaining the chapel.

Being a small and local community chapel, few references are made to it in newspaper reports on religious services. A report in the  Examiner’s on a harvest festival in 1882 gives a sense of rural and religious life around Saundridge which was almost entirely centred on farming:

“At Saundridge the private chapel was most beautifully decorated, a large body of willing workers having busied themselves for two whole days in preparing it for the festival. Their zeal had been tempered by good taste, for notwithstanding the wealth of adornment and the number of beautiful texts and devices employed, an artistic lightness and airiness of effect had been happily preserved. Here, too, a full congregation met to offer their thanksgivings to the Lord of the harvest. After service the Cressy choir was hospitably entertained by Mr Archer”.



The Saundridge Road Chapel was born out of the generosity of the ‘Lord of the Harvest’ and it is sustained by those entrusted to ensure its survival. And because of Robert Archer's foresight, it has.

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Sources:


Rigney, Frank L. A Midlands odyssey : a journey through parts of the Northern Midlands of Tasmania / Frank L. Rigney F.L. Rigney Campbell Town, Tas 2008

Henslowe, Dorothea I and Hurburgh, Isa Our heritage of Anglican churches in Tasmania. Mercury-Walch, Moonah, Tas, 1978.

Examiner Tuesday 28 March 1882

http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/archer-robert-joseph-1482






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