No. 272 - The former Methodist Church at East Devonport

When coal was discovered at Don and Tarleton in 1850 a number of “well-known Methodists” amongst the miners decided to establish a Methodist church to serve the faithful in the area. In 1853 services were conducted in the open air and a Sunday school was opened by Mr Surft at the coal mines(1).

In 1857, the first Methodist Minister, Rev. G. Lough was appointed to the Mersey District and meetings were held near Cockers Point at Tarleton. In the same year a fundraising ‘tea meeting’ in aid of church building funds was held in a tent made from sails loaned by Captain W. Holyman.(2) Before the church was constructed in Torquay (now East Devonport), services were held in the courthouse and some services were held in the billiard room of Mr Steven’s hotel.(3) The first Sunday school was opened by Mr George Muggeridge whose house had been used for weeknight services.

There are no surviving newspaper records of the churches opening in 1858. The original church was a small building situated at the corner of Cross Street and Murray Street. Over the years the building was extended and in 1884 a parsonage was built nearby. Unfortunately the old church was demolished when a new church was built in the mid-1960’s. The new church was in turn closed and sold around 1990 and the building has since been adapted to house the Baptcare Orana Respite and Social Centre.




A detail of the photograph below.
The old Wesleyan Methodist Church (undated) Original source not known - posted by Betty Keep‎ Devonport (Tasmania) and Surrounds - A Pictorial History 1 July 2018 

An Early photograph of East Devonport (undated) showing the church and parsonage - original source not known

Post card (1940) showing the church (centre left) See detail in photograph below. Source: LINC Tasmania item number AA193/1/1298

Detail of postcard showing the rear of the church looking south - source Source: LINC Tasmania item number AA193/1/1298


The Cornwall Chronicle Wednesday 18 August 1858, page 7

Sources:

The Cornwall Chronicle Wednesday 18 August 1858, page 7
North West Post, Monday 30 November 1908, page 3
North West Post, Tuesday 1 December 1908, page 3
Examiner, Wednesday 2 December 1908, page 7

The Advocate 'Breathing New Life into Our Old places' January 21 2015

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.

Footnotes:

(1) North West Post, Monday 30 November 1908, page 3
(2) North West Post, Tuesday 1 December 1908, page 3
(3) North West Post, Tuesday 1 December 1908, page 3

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