No. 168 - Barton : Isis Hall - "From Barton to Barn"

I came across an old colour photograph of a building that used to stand at Barton, near Campbell Town, which clearly had some of the hallmark features of a church. (see photograph below) The gothic style windows and the cemetery shaded by yew trees to the right of the building seem to confirm this. However, the chimney at the west end and the doorway without a traditional porch, are not typical features of a church. Research revealed that it was in fact a public hall that was built with the specific purpose of accomodating Anglican church services.  The gothic windows are perhaps a nod to this. A 1931 a report in the Hobart Mercury concerning a fundraising event at Barton for the purpose of building a hall reveals the details of this arrangement.

“On Saturday afternoon a success fair was held at Barton, near the River Isis. The object of the function was to raise funds towards building a public hall. The fair was held in the shearing shed at Barton, which was kindly loaned by Mr. Thomas Dowling…. Mr. William Lockett, of Campbell Town presided, and he outlined the object of the fair. He said he considered a hall was necessary in the locality. The residents depended on the generosity of Mr. Dowling for the use of his sheering shed to hold entertainments and Anglican Church services. When the hall was erected all public functions would be held in it, and the rector of the Anglican Church would have the right to hold church services monthly”.

The Anglicans' participation in fundraising for the hall thus ensured that they would have a secure place to worship at Barton. Mr Dowling donated the land for the hall which was located alongside a pre-existing cemetery.

A visitor to Barton today will find no sign of the hall, although the yew trees and cemetery are still there. The church hall was sold in the 1970’s and moved to Cleveland next to the old State School where it was used as a bus shed. Its proportions are rather different now as it was cut into sections and reassembled with a lower pitch roof. Although it is barely recognisable, the old gothic style windows can still clearly be observed.

The cemetery at Barton has survived and is of significant historical interest as it is the resting place of many of the Gatenby family as well as the Dowlings and a handful of local families.

The Barton region and the Isis River also has an interesting connection with Launceston. The Kings Bridge Bar and Restaurant near the Gorge was originally an old 'corn mill house' built by Andrew Gatenby after his arrival in Tasmania in 1823 and this sat on the banks of the Isis River (once called Penny Royal Creek). It was moved to Launceston stone by stone when the Penny Royal Complex was created.

Information about the Gatenby family and the removal of the old Barton mill house can be found by clicking on the links below.

The Old Baton Mill

Andrew Gatenby

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Isis Hall at Barton as it appeared in the 1970's. Source: QVM 1997 P:528 (Clyde V. Coombe)

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

The old Cleveland School - Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

The Cemetery at Barton


Mercury Tuesday 11 March 1930, page 5
Mercury Thursday 11 June 1931, page 2
The Examiner 26 February 2016
Henslowe, Dorothea I and Hurburgh, Isa Our heritage of Anglican churches in Tasmania. Mercury-Walch, Moonah, Tas, 1978.
The Tasmanian Midlands - a pictorial history. Facebook thread - Contributions by Barry Reynolds; 27 March 2018.


  1. The Barton Hall was still there in Sept 1982 as I celebrated my 18th birthday there.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Welcome to Churches of Tasmania

No. 624 - Dunalley - St Martin's Anglican Church - "In grateful memory of the men who fought in the Great War"

No. 592 - Gretna - St Mary the Virgin - "Worthy of Imitation"