No. 258 - All Saint's at Birralee - 'Reverend Morze's Foundation Stone'

Birralee is a village about 20 km from Westbury in Northern Tasmania. The area was originally known as Black Sugar Loaf until 1915 when the name Birralee, an aboriginal word for baby or child, was adopted. A Primitive Methodist church was established at Birralee in the 1890’s. Anglican services were held in the State school before all Saints was opened in 1932. The land for the church donated by Mr Wicks of Birralee and Mr John Beasley, of Frankford, was contracted as builder.

The foundation stone laying ceremony was conducted by Reverend Francis Morze, the Rector of Wesbury. The occasion was reported by the Examiner on 11 November 1931:

“On Saturday afternoon the foundation stone of the new Church of England at Birralee was laid by Rev. F. Morze. Afternoon tea was served. The sum of £13 was raised towards the funds, £10 being donated by a relative of Mrs Morze”.

Reverend Morze, who was suffering from influenza at the time, developed bronchial pneumonia and passed away within a week of the stone-laying ceremony. The foundation stone effectively became Francis Morze’s memorial stone representing his last official act as rector.

The church was completed three months after Reverend Morze’s death. The opening service was reported in the Examiner:

“The new Church of England at Birralee was opened by Archdeacon H. Atkinson… on Sunday last. The building was crowded. Visitors were present from Selbourne, Westbury and Frankford. An impressive service was held. Prizes were distributed to the Sunday-school children by the Archdeacon”.

Church services ceased on the 17 January 1999. The church has since been converted into a house. 


All Saint's at Birralee in the process of being converted into a house. Source: Libraries Tasmania
   

Source: Linc Tasmania Object Number WEHS-0106


Sources:


The Examiner, Wednesday 11 November 1931 page 5
The Examiner, Wednesday 10 February 1932 page 5
The Advocate, Wednesday 18 November 1931, page 2
The Advocate, Friday 20 November 1931

https://www.placenames.tas.gov.au

The Westbury Historical Society (Max Frost) - via information provided on LINC Tasmania: eheritage.libraries.tas.gov.au

https://eheritage.libraries.tas.gov.au/resources/detailed7d.html?ID=WEHS_0106

Henslowe, Dorothea I and Hurburgh, Isa Our heritage of Anglican churches in Tasmania. Mercury-Walch, Moonah, Tas, 1978.

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