No. 201 - Gravelly Beach Methodist Church - 'Henry Pearn's Church'

Gravelly Beach was originally a small holiday settlement on the Tamar River north of Launceston. As Gravelly Beach is located close to Exeter it was served by two churches there. However, for a few decades a small church operated at Gravelly Beach which accommodated the Methodist and Anglican communities.

Tasmanian Methodism published in 1975 notes that:

“Sometimes the establishment of a church in a particular place centres on the vision and enthusiasm of one person. This can be said of the late Henry Pearn. Land was purchased by him at the end of 1936 for £25 and subsequently the church was built. He along with Fletcher Barber and Frederick French, formed the first trust”.

A report from The Examiner in March 1937 provides a few details about the church:

“The church of wood and plaster sheeting, is 30 feet by 20 feet and was designed by Mr. H. A. Pearn of Gravelly Beach. It was built by Mr. Pearn and Mr. H. A. Hurst, the circuit missionary stationed at Exeter, with some assistance.. … Previously the Methodist services have been held in the hall, and the new church, centrally situated, will prove an asset to the Methodists of the district”.

Later that month The Examiner described the opening service on the 27th of March:

“Further progress was marked at Gravelly Beach…. when the opening ceremony of the recently built Methodist Church took place…. The unsettled conditions made it necessary to curtail the opening addresses held out of doors. The dedication service was conducted by Rev. R.E Hooper (chairman of the Tasmanian Methodist Assembly)…. Mr Hooper congratulated the builders…. and stated that the new building was not just another church for a manifestation of something new, but material evidence of the continuity of the church’s duration….”

Tasmanian Methodism also notes that:

“The church throughout most of its life has been used by Anglican as well as Methodist congregations in a spirit of amity and cooperation. Henry Pearn continued to serve the Church as a trustee to the end of his life in 1962. He was also an active local preacher. This Methodist layman served the community in local government, being elected to the Beaconsfield Council in 1940 and continuing as a councillor until 1958”.

I have not been able to determine the date of the church’s closure but it was probably in the 1990s. It is now part of a private residence and seems to be largely in its original form.

A photograph of the church c.1998 - Libraries Tasmania - Photographer: Allan Thomas Orr


The church in 2005 - Photograph supplied by Denice Walter 


The church in 2005 - Photograph supplied by Denice Walter 


Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

 Sources:

The Examiner Tuesday 23 March 1937, page 6
The Examiner Friday 26 March 1937, page 8
The Examiner Monday 29 March 1937, page 6

Stansall, M. E. J and Methodist Church of Australasia Tasmanian Methodism, 1820-1975 : compiled at the time of last Meeting of Methodism prior to union. Methodist Church of Australasia, Launceston, Tasmania, 1975.



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