No. 116 - St Michael's at Kimberley - 'Unusual Interest'

Plans for an Anglican church at Kimberley began in 1901 with an expression of “unusual interest” for a place of worship at a gathering of 50 people. Prior to this Anglicans had met in the State School which they had used as a place of worship since 1898.

In February 1912 The North West Post reported on the opening of Kimberley’s first church:

“The opening of the Anglican Church took place…in the presence of the largest crowd of people that has assembled in this place. Representatives from all parts of the district were present. The official ceremony was performed by Bishop Mercer… The residents were congratulated upon having a nice building in which to hold services after many years of hard work”.

Although the history of St Michael’s is not remarkable, there are two points of interest for visitors. The first is the altar railings carved by ‘Nellie Payne’. She was one of Tasmania’s most renowned woodcarvers and has carved well over 100 honour boards and other memorial objects found in churches, schools and public buildings across the state. In 1939 she carved the coat of arms of the Tasmanian Parliament. The altar railings at St Michael's were commissioned in memory of Sergeant Lindsay McRae (Max) Field who was killed in action in Egypt in April 1917. Max had been a member of the church and Nellie was his aunt. The rails were dedicated by Bishop Stephen in December 1917.

The second point of interest can be found in the cemetery which is situated alongside the church. It is here that Sir Barry Blyth Holloway, an Australian-born Papua New Guinean politician is buried. He was a founding member the 'Pangu Pati', which went on to become one of the country's main political parties. In the 1968 general election, he was elected to the House of Assembly. Following the 1972 general election, he was elected as the first Speaker of the House. In accordance with his wishes, he was buried next to his parents at his birthplace in Kimberley. The burial took place on Australia Day, 26 January 2013.

Although the population of Kimberly has declined considerably over the years, St Michael’s still remains open more than a century after it opened. This in itself is a remarkable achievement.



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 Altar Railings - Source: http://nelliepayne.com/

Sources

The North West Post Friday 1 March 1912
The Examiner Friday 26 April 1901
The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954), Monday 30 April 1917, page 6) 

Links:

Nellie Payne

Barry Holloway

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