No. 229 - The former Methodist Church at George Town - 'The Life of the Church'

The first Methodist church as George Town was built in 1887 on a small block of land near York Cove. The first mention of this appears in a correspondents report for the Daily Telegraph in March 1887:

“The Primitive Methodists are about to build a chapel here, as at present they are obliged to hold their weekly services in the building recently occupied by one of the store dealers. I hear they intend giving a moonlight concert on the water in the Indignant, which should prove a great success, as the steamer and her genial skipper are very popular here”.

By May 1887 the church had been completed in time for Queen Victoria’s birthday celebrations. Again, the Daily Telegraph provides a record of the event:

“Queen’s Birthday, in our usually quiet town, was quite a day of excitement, it being the day appointed for the tea meeting in connection with the opening of the new Primitive Methodist Church here…. Two earnest sermons were preached on Sunday, May 22, to attentive though small audiences, the very boisterous state of the weather keeping many away who would otherwise have been present”.

The report continues on to describe a fundraising tea meeting held on the Queen’s birthday:

“On Tuesday an excellent tea…was prepared and dispensed in the Assembly Rooms… when about 120 sat down to do ample justice to the good things provided; after which a public meeting was held in the church, presided over by Rev. W.H. Walton, when stirring and interesting addresses were given by the chairman, Mr R. Williams, and Rev. C.H. Hammer, interspersed with singing by the choir. The financial statement was read by Mr Widdowson, which showed that, though the erection of the [Primitive Methodist] Church was first thought of only six months ago, … The new church has supplied a much felt want in our township, the Anglican being the only one previously established here”.

Newspaper reports on the subsequent history of the church are thin and “Tasmanian Methodism” notes that that the loss of records of early Methodist activity makes the history ‘sketchy’ at best. It does however note that:



“A Mr. Widdowson seems to have been the life of the Church. He is reported to have rung the church bell, played the organ, taken up the offering, and preached the sermon at many of the services”.

The building was moved from its York Cove site in 1954 to a site on Sorrell Street where a hall was built alongside. Regular services ceased in 1973 when the Methodist and Presbyterian congregations united to worship at St Andrew’s Presbyterian church.

In 2010 the church was sold and moved a second time, on this occasion to Lake House at Cressy where it was used as a wedding chapel and more recently as a gymnasium. A link to photographs of the magnificent Lake House can be found below the photographs.

Photograph of the church shortly before its removal to Cressy: source - With permission of the George Town Pictorial History FB Community Group

The church at its new location: Photograph - With permission of the George Town Pictorial History FB Community Group

A recent photograph of the church now at Lake House Cressy - Photo used with permission of Anjie Blair https://anjieblair.com/


Sources:

Daily Telegraph Thursday 3 March 1887, page 3
Daily Telegraph Friday 27 May 1887, page 3
Tasmanian Saturday 2 June 1888, page 12

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, Tas, 1975.

https://anjieblair.com/
https://www.facebook.com/GeorgeTownPictorial/



Comments

  1. Duncan, this it truly a fascinating journey. Thank you for keeping faith in our lives.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The researcher is an excellent fellow.

    ReplyDelete

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