No. 92 - St Peter's Anglican Mission Hall at Sand Hill - 'Worship at the Golf Links'

In 1924 an Anglican mission hall was opened at Sandhill. In fact the hall served as a place of worship at Sandhill until a new Anglican church was eventually opened in 1961. It was originally called St Paul’s Mission Hall but this was later changed to St Peter's in 1934 in order to avoid confusion with St Paul's Church in South Launceston.

The Daily Telegraph of Launceston reported on the laying of the foundation stone of the Mission Hall by Bishop Hay in December 1923:

“A stranger alighting from the tram at the Sandhill terminus on Saturday afternoon would have been surprised to hear bands playing and to see a procession of choir and clergy in white surplices marching and singing the inspiring air of Onward Christian Soldiers, the occasion being the laying of the foundation stone by the Lord Bishop of Tasmania (Right Rev. Dr Hay) of the Sandhill Mission Hall".

Addressing the gathering, Bishop Hay said:

“…That he was glad to see so many present, and also so many clergymen of other denominations, and representatives of Christian bodies. …The building they were about to erect could be used as a social hall. They should not think that they were only preparing them to die; they were preparing them to live, and to bring up the children as true Christians, and consequently as good citizens. …The clergy should keep in closer touch with the people by social intercourse. The Mission Hall would be the church for the time being but later they would have a church building that could stand, as a witness of God”.

He touched on what seems to a perennial problem for the faithful:

“We must not lose sight of God. Sunday observance should be a big national movement. While he was being driven along a friend said, 'If you want to find the well-to-do people on Sunday go to the golf-links. They were not asking tor Sabbatarianism, but he warned them that their children may have to pay a terrible price for such an example as set by their parents. One day a week was surely not much to ask to give to God”.

The parishioners must have taken the Bishop’s words to heart, although almost 40 years were to pass before Sandhill got its promised church in 1961 with the opening of St Marks Church, as a "witness of God". The old St Peter's Mission Hall still stands although it is partly obscured by trees and is barely noticeable at a busy intersection where trams once stopped.


Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018


Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018



Sources:
Daily Telegraph Monday 17 December 1923
Geoffrey Stephens, The Anglican Church in Tasmania, 1992.
Holloway, Kerry E and St. Mark on the Hill (Launceston, Tas.) The light on the hill : a history of the Anglican Church in South Launceston, 1924-2010. St. Mark on the Hill, [Launceston, Tas, 2010.





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