No. 84 - St Stephen's Newstead - 'Utility and Beauty'

The Presbyterian Church of St Stephen's had a relatively short life, opening in December 1941 and closing in 1988. The expansion of Launceston's suburbs in the post war period was not matched by a growth in religious observance and St Stephen's suffered the familiar trend of church closures which accelerated from the 1970’s.

The church was initially considered as an extension of the Chalmers’ Church in the city and was known as ‘Chalmers’ Newstead’ until it was named St Stephen’s in 1965.

The Examiner reported on the opening of the church in 1941 by the Presbyterian Moderator of Tasmania and assisted by its pastor, Reverend Burton:

"The opening and dedication of the Newstead Presbyterian Church Hall at the corner of Abbott and Campbell streets took place on Saturday afternoon and was followed by a service. The Moderator of Tasmania (Rev. A. E. Giles) presided and performed the dedication ceremony. A window which had been in the first Presbyterian Church in Launceston was the gift of Mrs J. Walden. The furniture had come from the Presbyterian Church at West Pine… The building had been designed, Mr Burton said, with the idea of enlarging it. It combined utility and beauty, and upheld the dignity of the Presbyterian Church. The time was past, he said, when any building was considered good enough for a Sunday school or church”.

It was symbolic that the newest Presbyterian Church in Launceston should have a tangible link to the oldest; the Scotch Church in lower Charles Street. However, the hopes of expansion were never realised.  While there is still a simple beauty to the building, it has lost its utility and a little of its dignity.

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

The Mercury (Hobart) Saturday 11 October 1941
Examiner Monday 22 December 1941
Examiner Monday 6 October 1941


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