No. 111 - St Mary's Evandale - 'Training up the Little Ones'

The establishment of a Catholic Church at Evandale is usually dated to ‘around 1863’. However, a report in the Examiner from November 1859 clearly dates this as four years earlier:

“On Sunday last one of those pleasing and joyful events which gladdens the heart of the Christian took place in that charming and delightfully situated township, Evandale. For some time past the Catholics of the district, aided by their zealous pastor, have had in contemplation the erection of a church, where they might meet to worship God, and train up their little ones in the faith of their fathers. The good work is now happily completed. The church was solemnly opened on Sunday last by the Rev. M. O'Callaghan, whose lucid and brilliant discourse was listened to with breathless attention by a numerous audience, many of whom came from Launceston, thus testifying at once their zeal for God's house, and their respect and reverence for their priest and spiritual director. Too much praise cannot be given to the Rev. Father for his untiring exertions in collecting funds for the erection of this church, so much needed in this locality; and it is to be hoped that the Catholics of Evandale and surrounding district will evince, by their zeal and attendance at mass, how much they appreciate the disinterested motives of the pastor, who is prompted solely by religion and the salvation of souls” (Launceston Examiner Tuesday 1 November 1859, page 3) 

The next time that the church features prominently in newspaper reports is in 1887 when the Examiner advertised a “Grand Bazaar” in aid of repairing the roof. The wooden church was originally built with a bell tower, which consequently collapsed due to rotten wood and was not replaced.

By comparing the recent photographs of the church with an earlier black and white photograph, one can see that that the entrance door has been relocated from the side of the porch to the front. This alteration took place because coffins could not be carried in and out of the church without tipping them at an awkward.

On a Sunday in February 2001, St Mary’s had its last regular Mass and a final Mass of Thanksgiving was held on 10th November 2002. In July 2003 it was sold to be converted into a home.

 St Mary's Catholic Church, Evandale. c.2000 - image:  Libraries Tamania LPIC108/1/23

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

St Mary's at Evandale before the doorway was moved to the front of the porch. Source - LINC Tasmania LPIC147-3-00026

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018


Examiner Tuesday 1 November 1859, page 3


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