No. 128 - All Saint's at Spreyton - 'From Woodrising to Warehousing'

The church of All Saints at Spreyton was originally a private chapel at ‘Woodrising’ built by Reverend Claude Roberts. He arrived in Tasmania with his wife and 10 children in 1879 and after spending some months at St. John's Church, New Town Hobart, moved to the North West Coast. He landed in Torquay, now East Devonport and travelled by small river steamboat to the property the family had purchased. He named this after his father’s parish “Woodrising” in England. Woodrising is now part of Devonport Golf Club.

The chapel remained at Woodrising for some 30 years before it was moved to Spreyton when the property was sold in 1913. Up until then monthly services had been held in the chapel and the congregation decided to purchase the building and move it to a more central site near the Spreyton railway station. The removal and renovation of the church was undertaken by voluntary labour. A report in the North West Post into one of the many 'working bees' gives an insight into the effort required:

“A working bee was held at Spreyton on Saturday last in connection with the removal of the Anglican Church building. A party of about thirty turned up including a good number of members of the C.E.M.S, [Church of England Men’s Society] from Devonport. Considerable progress was made in putting a fence round the block of land, and the monotony of digging postholes was varied by the blasting of several stumps with gelignite.”



Although the move proved to be more difficult than anticipated it was nevertheless completed by March 1913. By 1921 a new hall had been erected alongside the church and although owned by the Church of England, it was available for use by all denominations. The hall burnt down in a fire in July 1934 but fortunately the church was undamaged. The Advocate reported that this was a great loss to the community as it had been used for public meetings and social gatherings.

In 1944 the church was extended by 10ft and in 1976 it underwent restoration and a church bell and a stained glass window was installed. This seems to be the high point in its history as it subsequently went into decline and closed. It is no longer surrounded by orchards but is virtually enclosed between warehouses. It is in a sadly neglected state and only another move may save it. 


Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

A wide angle shoot reveals the church sited in a parking lot between in an industrial estate. Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

The outline of a crucifix which has been removed revealing a wasps nest behind it. Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018
Sources:

Henslowe, Dorothea, Our heritage of Anglican churches in Tasmania 1978
North West Post Tuesday 8 April 1913
North Western Advocate and the Emu Bay Times Wednesday 12 March 1913
The Advocate Thursday 26 July 1934 North West Post Tuesday 18 March 1913
North West Post Thursday 13 March 1913
The Advocate Saturday 29 October 1921

https://www.devonportgolfclub.com.au/our-history

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