No. 91 - The Longford Uniting Church - 'Opposition or Rivalry?'

The Longford Wesleyan movement began in 1834 under the guidance of Reverend John Manton of Launceston. By 1837 the first chapel was built in Wellington Street on land donated by Joseph Heazlewood. The church was build on cheap foundations so as to limit costs and this was to ultimately lead to its demolition. By the 1870’s the chapel had become unstable and it was cheaper to build a new church than to repair the old building. In July 1880 the new brick church in High Street opened, at about the same time two other church building projects were underway in Longford. The construction of the Baptist Tabernacle as well as major structural renovations at Christchurch led the Examiner's correspondent to question: “Is this opposition or rivalry?”

The opening of the new Wesleyan church was reported in the Examiner:

“The opening service…was held last Sunday, when sermons most appropriate to the occasion were preached. The church was well filled in the morning, but crowded at both later services, there being from 400 to 500 persons present.”

After the old church on Wellington Street was demolished, a Sunday school building was constructed in its place in 1902. This building still stands today but it is now a private residence.

The Primitive Methodists were also active in Longford and had their own chapel. In 1902, the Primitive Methodists and Wesleyans united to form the new Methodist Church. The old Primitive Methodist church was then sold to the Presbyterians who had been using the Druids Hall as a place of worship. The Presbyterians continued to use this church until they too joined with the Methodists in 1977 to form the Uniting Church. Unfortunately, following this the old Primitive Methodist Church was demolished but some of its windows were incorporated into the Uniting Churches new hall (see photographs below).


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

The new Sunday School on Wellington Street that was built in 1902 on the site of the original Wesleyan Church - Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018


The Primitive Methodist Church that was sold to the Presbyterians. This building was demolished in the 1970's but front windows were salvaged and used in the new Uniting Church Hall (see photograph below)  Photo source: LINC Tasmania LPIC147-4-279 

A close up of the windows of the new Uniting Church hall.  These windows were salvaged from the old Primitive Methodist/Presbyterian church that was demolished in the 1970's - Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

The old Druids Hall which was used by the Presbyterians before they purchased the old Primitive Methodist Chapel. The Druids Hall was later taken over by the Country Women's association. Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018.

Sources:

150 Years of Witness 1834-1934 Longford Parish Uniting Church (booklet/pamphlet)
Longford Now and Then - Northern Midlands Council (date unknown)
A Century of Methodism in Longford 1834-1934 Souvenir History (booklet/pamphlet)
Mercury Monday 21 July 1930
Examiner Saturday 19 July 1930
Examiner Saturday 24 July 1880
Daily Telegraph Tuesday 13 August 1901
Examiner Friday 22 August 1934





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