No. 273 - 'Christ Church' at Exton

The village of Exton lies between the towns of Deloraine and Westbury on the old Bass Highway. It was first known as Marsh Paddocks, a name that shared by the Marsh Paddock Inn that was build in 1850 to serve the coach industry. A Wesleyan Methodist church was established at Exton in 1855. Nearly 50 years later the Anglicans followed suite with the establishment of a small church on the corner of Station Lane.

The church no longer exists having closed in 1986 and demolished around 1990. There is little published news about the church although a report from the Daily Telegraph in December 1901 describes the opening service:

“A new Church of England has recently been built at Exton, and Wednesday last was the opening dedication, which attracted a very large gathering of people from many miles around. The Archdeacon of Launceston came from Hobart to preside, and, assisted by the vicar of Hagley and Dr. Craig, made the formal gift of the church, with the title of Christ's Church, to the glory of God. The really neat little building with handsome chancel stands on land given by Mr Henry Martin, of Thornby, Exton, and is nicely arranged with stained glacier windows, and grounds well fenced in. A tea followed, about 200 sharing the kind ladies' hospitality; and in the evening the school hall was crowded for a concert, in which many took part. The Archdeacon assisted and left Exton and Westbury with the promise of early return. The opening service added over £10 towards the building fund, and aroused deep interest. Mr Riley, of Exton, was contractor for the church, and his contract has been carried out with credit to himself and every satisfaction of the building committee”.

In December 1902 the church was dedicated as ‘Christ Church’. An Anglican Hall was subsequently built on the corner opposite the church. 
The hall was converted into a house and is the last tangible reminder of the Anglican presence at Exton. However, one of the windows from the church was saved and was subsequently installed in the chapel at Kanangra Home in Deloraine. The window had been installed at Christ Church in 1963 by Miss Evelyn Newton, in memory of her family. When the church was closed the congregation requested that the window be removed and stored for safe-keeping. It was kept in the organ loft of the bell tower at St Mark's in Deloraine where it lay forgotten until 1997 when the chapel was built at Kanangra. It was installed in the chapel with rear lighting fitted to illuminate it.  The Chapel of the Good Shepherd was aptly named after the beautiful memorial window from Exton.





Source: QVMAG 1986
The former Anglican church hall at Exton - Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018
The stained glass window from Christ Church at Exton - It was memorial to the Newton family and is now a feature of the Chapel of the Good Shepherd at Kanangra Home in Deloraine.  (Photograph and additional information supplied by Desley Parsons)


Sources:

Daily Telegraph, Wednesday 18 December 1901, page 8

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

Information about window - Signage from the Chapel of the Good Shepherd at Kanangra Home, Deloraine. (Supplied by Desley Parsons)

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