No. 241 - The former Presbyterian Church at North Lilydale - 'The Scots Church'

The North Lilydale Presbyterian Church was a short-lived church that held services for approximately 20 years.  It opened on Sunday 5th August 1945, in the dying days of World War Two and on the day before the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. 

A report in The Examiner published prior to the church’s opening provides some detail of its origin:

“The first services at North Lilydale were conducted by Mr Robert Campbell in the school, which was erected on land given by Mrs Lowe. Later a Government school was erected and services were continued in it until it was removed to form part of the Lilydale Area School. For the past six years the services have been held in the homes of Messrs. W.C. Mathewson and C.J. Bowron.  In June last year Mr Ernest Brown, one of the pioneers of the district, suggested that a small church be erected..."

A follow-up report in The Examiner describes the church’s opening on Sunday 5 August:

“There was a large gathering at North Lilydale on Sunday afternoon, when the new Presbyterian Church – Scots Church – was opened and dedicated… The Brown family, who were among the pioneers of North Lilydale, was also represented at the gathering…. In the early days Messrs. A.E. and P.H. Brown, sons of Mr George Brown, Lilydale, built their homes in virgin bush land...

The door of the new church was first opened by Mrs E. Boultbee, and after the congregation had entered the door was closed. It was opened a second time by Mr A.E. Brown to admit the Moderator and members of the Presbytery…  In his address the Moderator congratulated the people of North Lilydale on their achievement and told them not to regard the church as complete, but to keep adding to its beauty each year…. The pulpit was donated by members of the Boultbee family in memory of their father, Mr Herbert Boultbee, who was the first Sunday school superintendent.  The table and chairs were a gift from old scholars in memory of the superintendent and teachers…. The church was built by Mr. J. Quinn, Launceston, on ground given by Mr J. Bowron. Mr Percy Brown painted the building and the fencing was completed by voluntary workers”.

Sadly, the optimism of the post-war years did not translate into longevity for the ‘Scots Church’. The depopulation of rural areas coupled with the declining religiosity of the post-war generation, resulted in a shrinking congregation. The church was ultimately closed and abandoned in the 1960's.  Its fate is not entirely clear and it may have been removed to Mount Arthur to be converted into a residence.

The opening of the 'Scots Church' in 1945. Photo used with the permission of Betty Francis Viney


The Examiner, Friday 3 August 1945, page 4
The Examiner, Tuesday 7 August 1945, page 6
North-Eastern Advertiser, Friday 2 November 1945, page 2

Also, special thanks and appreciation to Betty Francis Viney and Phillip Mahnken for information and insights provided through the Heritage Lilydale Face Book group.


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