No. 125 - St Olave's at Don - 'Dragged Away'

Saint Olav or Olaf was an early King of Norway, who attempted to convert his people to Christianity and was martyred in 1030. He had been an ‘ally’ of King Ethelred the Unready, fighting the Danes. While they were occupying the wooden London Bridge, Olav is said to have tied his longboats to the bridge supports and pulled it down. Olav became a popular saint in England, and five churches in the City of London were dedicated to him. It is possible that settlers who had connections with one of these churches may have promoted the cause of St. Olave’s at Don.

St Olave’s at Don was not ‘pulled down’ like London Bridge but literally dragged away by a bullock team when the church was moved from its original site in the old Don settlement to its present site in 1901. The church opened in 1877 and was reopened shortly after its removal to the new site. The move was partly funded by Mrs M.A. Nickols from the estate of her late husband. However, further fundraising was needed to defray the outstanding debt.

In 1926, the small cemetery at the church was consecrated. The congregation seemed to be thriving and the Bishop “complimented the congregation on the care they had taken of the church and the grounds and also the improvements which had been effected”. This small cemetery must not be confused with the Congregational Cemetery that lies across the road from St Olave's. (This will be covered in a separate article.)

Services at St Olave’s were discontinued in 1940 due to falling numbers and the windows were boarded up. In 1960, the congregation of St John’s in Devonport decided to restore the building and it was reopened in 1961.

However, numbers have since fallen dramatically and the church has been recently closed once again. A report in The Advocate explained that over time church services gradually went from weekly, to fortnightly, and monthly. The building is now for sale and hopefully it will be preserved given its heritage status.

A link to recent news item on this church have been placed at the bottom of this page.


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 final service for St Olave's - Photo - The Advocate 15 February 2018

An remarkable picture of a bullock team removing a church in Victoria which would be similar the removal at Don. 
Links:
Sources:

North Western Advocate and the Emu Bay Times Friday 16 August 1901
The Advocate Tuesday 9 November 1926
North Western Advocate and the Emu Bay Times Saturday 22 August 1903
The Advocate Friday 14 February 1919
The Advocate 15 February 2018

Henslowe, Dorothea; Our heritage of Anglican churches in Tasmania. Mercury-Walch, Moonah, Tas, 1978.
Victoria State Library Image H87.52/119 Gabriel Knight 1876-1946 photographer. [ca. 1909-ca. 1915] (image)




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