No. 261 - Highfield House Chapel at Stanley

Highfield House at Stanley was built as the residence of Edward Curr, the first chief agent of the Van Diemans Land Company (VDL). The VDL settlement began in 1826 on 350,000 acres granted under Royal Charter by George IV. The company was to have a significant impact on the settlement of north-west Tasmania and the establishment of the town of Stanley.

The chapel at Highfield is the earliest ‘church’ established on the north west coast:

“Religious services were at first held in a section of the 1827 Highfield cottage. They were conducted by Thomas Swayne (wool sorter and book-keeper) until he left in 1841. Six convicts formed the church choir. Late in 1838 the building of a stone chapel was commenced, although never [fully] completed. Reverend Grigg was appointed chaplain. Services were conducted in the chapel building from the beginning of 1842 until a church and parsonage were erected in the new company township of Stanley. The chapel was later used as a storehouse and barn”. (1)

A distinctive feature of the chapel is a stone cross built into the structure of the chimney. The second storey of the building was used as a schoolroom. 

 Highfield House is now maintained by Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife. The chapel and the Highfield estate has become a popular venue for weddings.

Link to Highfield House HERE

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2016

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2016

The schoolroom above the chapel - source: Expedia

The interior of the chapel - source: Expedia


Circular Head Chronicle, Wednesday 10 November 1920, page 2
The Examiner, Monday 25 October 1925, page 5


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