Showing posts from April, 2018

No. 141 - Trevallyn - Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church - 'Pagan Influences'

In the 1950s and early 1960s Tasmania saw an increase in the number of new churches built; perhaps a consequence of post-war optimism. However, this 'boom' was not to last, and as the baby boomers grew up, they drifted away from established religion and subsequent generations found ‘freedom’ and fulfilment in the brave new world. The Church of Our Lady of the Assumption at Trevallyn was born in these contradictory times of abundance in the shadow of the Cold War. The opening of a new church took place on August 15, 1950, on the feast day of the Assumption of Mary. This pre-empted Pope Pius XII’s declaration in November 1950 of the Assumption of Mary as Catholic dogma. The Trevallyn church’s opening ceremony was reported in The Examiner under the headline; “Archbishop warns of Pagan influences”. Archbishop Tweedy said: "There are forces at work in Australia today which, if they were successful, would sound the death knell of liberty in this country. People in other lands kn

No. 140 - Lalla Presbyterian Church - 'The Brewer's Dog"

The old Presbyterian Church at Lalla was recently in the news when it was moved from Lalla Road to a new site in a Lalla Vineyard where it will be used for cellar door sales. This is not the first move that the church has had. It started its life in 1905 as a Presbyterian Church at Brown Mountain, on the road between Karoola and Underwood. The earliest newspaper record I have found of the Brown Mountain Church is a report of a social evening held “in the new Presbyterian Church…the proceeds being devoted to giving some finishing touches to the building”. The evening consisted of a programme of songs and recitations; some religious, others humorous and even a “temperance piece”; The Brewer’s dog, recited by Miss Ella Reid: “The brewer's dog is abroad, boys. Be careful where you stray, His teeth are coated with poison, And he's on the watch for prey. The brewery is his kennel, But he lurks on every hand, And he seeks for easy victims The children of the land. His eyes gleam th

No. 139 - Aberdeen Methodist Church - "Grunting Like A Pig"

The foundation stone for the Aberdeen Methodist Church was laid on the 2nd July 1914, 4 days after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. There was no sense of foreboding at this ceremony or at the opening service two months later: “The opening services of the new Methodist Church at Aberdeen on Sunday was a great success. There were overflowing congregations at both afternoon and evening services…. On Wednesday a tea meeting was held in the afternoon and a concert and coffee super at night….the concert closed with the singing of the National Anthem”. Most rural churches tend to have very quiet lives that go unreported aside from the regular fairs, harvest festivals and anniversary services. But, if one digs deeply enough, a unique story is usually found. The church at Aberdeen is no acceptation. While these stories may not be strictly 'church history' they are part of the rich tapestry of social history. This is valuable in bringing the buildings and people

No. 138 - St Joseph's at Forth - "Three Cheers for Father Dowling"

MacKillop Hill at Forth is an appropriate successor to the former St Joseph’s Catholic Church that was founded in 1873. The church was vacant for many years until 1993 when the Order of the Sisters of St. Joseph decided to create a Retreat centre at Forth and renamed the church the MacKillop Hill Spirituality Centre. The centre opened in March 1995. In 1889 a convent was opened at the church by the Sister’s of St Joseph, led by Sister Francis McCarthy, making it one of the earliest schools to be opened by the Order in Tasmania. The Daily Telegraph reported that: “Three of the sisters from Westbury are expected to arrive this week to open [the convent]. They will live in a cottage at the rear of the church and conduct the school duties in the church till a schoolroom is built. They also [sic] hold a bazaar on the Queen’s Birthday for raising funds in aid of the school. Archbishop Murphy is expected to conduct a service here next Sunday…” Archbishop Murphy had been present at the firs

No. 137 - St Anne's Lilydale - "A Sabbath Desecration"

The drive to establish a Catholic church at Lilydale began in 1890. A report in The Colonist in May 1890 noted that a church was to be built on land donated by Mr. G. Sulzberger. A year later, the project was “still in embryo” but by July 1891 the foundation stone for a new church had been laid in a ceremony attended by Archbishop Murphy.  Six months later the church was completed.  The opening ceremony for St Anne’s took place on Sunday 31st January 1892 and was a spectacular affair. The Tasmanian reported that: “A special train left Launceston at half-past nine, and a considerable number of city residents took the opportunity of attending the ceremonies. The clergymen present were the Most Rev. Archbishop Murphy, Very Rev. Dean Beechinor [and] Father Alphonsus (Superior of the Passionist Order in Australia)….” As a result of the special Sunday train service provided by the railway authorities, the ceremony was very well attended and numbers were swelled by the choir of the Churc

No. 136 - St James' Railton - "A Wild Irishman Remembers"

In 1940, a correspondent for The Advocate using the nom de plume “The Wild Irishman”, recalled the laying of the foundation stone of St James’ Church at Railton 50 years earlier. What the writer remembered most vividly was the sermon of Father Gilleran. "Wild Irishman's' writing is almost poetic and I have reproduced most of his words: “Reading of the golden jubilee celebrations of the laying of the foundation of St. James’ Catholic church at Railton reminded me of a beautiful autumn afternoon 50 years ago last week when we were met at Railton station by the long bearded coachman of those days, Gelvin Atkinson, with his four-in-hand, and driven to the site in the virgin forest, where the present day church stands. After Archbishop Murphy had well and truly laid and blessed the stone, in my mind’s eye I can see the tall, stately, and benign faced Father Gilleran… in his black cassock and white surplice, walk on to the improvised pulpit, and preach the occasional sermon, an