No. 89 - St Saviours at Frankford - 'The Swaying Church'

St Saviour’s Church sits on a hillside overlooking the road out of Frankford village. From a distance it seems secure on the hillcrest but at closer quarters it is obvious that that it is in physically precarious position.

St Saviour’s opened in late 1886, two years after the Anglican community resolved to build a church. Half an acre of land had been donated by Mr Kern for the construction of the building. There were two opening services, each attracting between 80 and 90 worshippers, an indication of a sizeable number of faithful in this remote district.



Bishop Montgomery consecrated the church in November 1891. From the report in the The Daily Telegraph it is clear that the Bishop's three day expedition into the Frankford hills took considerable planning:

“There was a good congregation, and a liberal collection. His lordship delivered an address on ‘Church Consecration’ …Mr Gunn, of Sunnyside, entertained the Bishop and Reverend Hart during their stay at West Tamar on the journey down. After visiting at Rosevears, Mr Goetz drove the Bishop on to Frankford, to the residence of Mrs Robinson where he partook of refreshments prior to the consecration service. The next morning the Bishop left the residence of Mr Reed where he sojourned for the night, and was driven by Mr Durant to Blackwall to catch the riverboat on his way to Cullenswood to conduct a confirmation service”.

Frankford still had the air of a frontier community in the late 19th century. At its 50th jubilee in 1941, Archdeacon Atkinson commended “the spirit of the pioneers, who, while carving a home out of the virgin bush, found time, thought, and money to build the present church”.

Frankford's remoteness was underscored by the poor state of the roads giving it an atmosphere of isolation although it is less than 20km from Beaconsfield as the crow flies. A traveller described the area in 1884, two years prior to the church's opening:


“Soon after we pass the pretty little schoolhouse in course of erection; a few neglected paddocks, full of firewood and all abominations, show absentees, and then we come to the farm of the district (Mr. Hamilton's), but it does not fall to the lot of all settlers to have such a lot of stalwart sons to help him; this seems a good farm, well farmed. The next location is Mr. Kerns, storekeeper, etc. He seems to have a large extent cleared, but the brake fern [sic] seems a terrible nuisance to him. He has a small portion cleared; seemingly for potatoes, and on a wattle in front of this plot is a placard with ' Church Site' written on it. On the opposite side, almost hidden by a curtain of scrub with seemingly no access to the road, is Mr. Shute's farm, of which I can say nothing, as we cannot see it. A piece of wretched road, full of pitfalls and quagmires, occupies our full attention…”

The church of St Saviour’s appears to have been troubled by structural problems in its early years. In 1913 there is a report that the building's joists and flooring were “in such a bad state” that a new hardwood floor had to be built. However work had to be halted when the church started to sway. The Examiner reported that:

“The swaying of the building ….has been getting worse for some time past, and on Sunday last the Rev. Macmichael had to bring the service to an abrupt conclusion and dismiss the congregation”.

The new flooring and joists seemed to fix the swaying problem and the church appeared to be in a sound state in 1941, at the 50th Jubilee of its consecration. It also went on to survive another 50 years to celebrate the centenary of its completion. I do not know when services finally ceased at St Saviours but it has suffered a serious physical decline and is now in a near ruinous state some 30 years after the commemoration of its 100th year. 

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Bees turning the church into a hive. Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Examiner Wednesday 12 March 1913

Sources: 

Daily Telegraph Wednesday 26 November 1884
Examiner Thursday 27 January 1887
Tasmanian Saturday 29 January 1887
Examiner Thursday 31 July 1941
Daily Telegraph Monday 24 February 1913
Mercury Monday 25 January 1937
Examiner Wednesday 12 March 1913


Comments

  1. Quite a sad story! Your research, Duncan, is thorough, and you too must be saddened by some of the other findings.

    ReplyDelete
  2. So many churches have completely disappeared so I think of it as one of the lucky ones. It's condition although quite poor, is probably good enough to restore. So there is some hope!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have included your blog in INTERESTING BLOGS in FRIDAY FOSSICKING at

    https://thatmomentintime-crissouli.blogspot.com/2018/03/friday-fossicking-16th-march-2018.html

    Thanks, Chris

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks Chris. I have a couple more interesting church/stories lined up for the weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  5. If you contact Errol Rossiter of Frankford, he will be able to tell yoou when the church closed.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks, I will do. I have just noticed you comment.

    ReplyDelete

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