No. 266 - St Columba's at Mole Creek - 'A Very Bad Site'

Mole Creek is a small town about 25 kilometres west of Deloraine in Northern Tasmania. In 1827 Joseph Fossey, a Van Diemen's Land Company surveyor, named a small tributary of the Mersey River the Mole River, because sections of it ran underground. 

The earliest Anglican services at Mole Creek were held in the Wesleyan chapel (built 1878). At the turn of the 20th century momentum for the establishment of a ‘Church of England’ gathered pace. In May 1900 a meeting was held with the purpose of building a church and a hall at the town:

“A meeting in connection with the Anglican Church was held on Thursday evening at Mr Whitely’s residence to consider the advisability of erecting a church at Mole Creek, … Those who attended (Rev. Lingley in the chair) went into the matter heartily and settled preliminary arrangements, and deferred others of greater importance till the next meeting. Promises of support in the form of donations of timber and in cash were made, so that it is reasonable to expect to see the building at no very distant period in course of erection on land presented by Mr John How”.

By June 1901 significant progress with the church and hall had been made. The correspondent for the Hobart Mercury observed:

"The pretty little settlement of Mole Creek is jogging along as usual, the erection of the Anglican Church is nearing completion, and a pretty building it is, though on a very bad site, being side on to the road, and on the low side too”.

By July the ‘Anglican club room’ (hall) had been completed for use as a Sunday school and for concerts. In September the the opening service was reported in the Launceston Examiner:

“The Right Rev. the Bishop of the Diocese, accompanied by the Right Rev. the Bishop of Carpentaria, attended to dedicate the Church of St. Columba, Mole Creek, on Wednesday last. At a very solemn service in the morning, the “holy rite of laying on of hands” was administered to 20 candidates, the average age being over 30 years. The chief opening service was fixed for the afternoon, for which a special train left Deloraine at 1.30. Despite the inclemency of the weather 153 travelled by it. A few minutes after 3 o’clock the Bishops, clergy, and wardens representing churches in the various centres proceeded from the robing-room to the church. The service consisted of a shortened form of evensong, followed by the service of dedication. The Bishop of Tasmania preached a very forcible sermon, …. At 4.30 the company assembled in the men’s club-room. Mr J. Lloyd and Mr. J. Whitley offered words of welcome to the Bishop of Tasmania on behalf of the people of Mole Creek…. Mr A. Horne (of Dunorlan) offered a like welcome to the Bishop of Carpentaria on behalf of the church people of the whole district…. After the episcopal guests had replied, the club-room was declared open in the interests of the Mole Creek community”.

After a lifespan of nearly 100 years, St Columba’s was closed and sold. The building was turned into a house. However it is no longer to be found at the ‘very bad site’ (near the Mole Creek Fire Station) and has been moved to higher ground on a site off McNeill Street.

St Columba's and the Anglican Club Hall - undated - original source not known. (sourced from FaceBook)

The Western Tiers 1994

The church in 2018 - Photograph: Duncan Grant

The church in 2018 - Photograph: Duncan Grant


The Daily Telegraph, Wednesday 23 May 1900, page 6
The Mercury, Wednesday 12 June 1901, page 5
The Examiner, Saturday 7 September 1901, page 9
The Daily Telegraph, Tuesday 22 May, page 4
The North Western Advocate and Emu Bay Times, Wednesday 24 July, 1901, page 2.
The North Western Advocate and Emu Bay Times, Friday 20 September 1901, page 2
Western Tiers, Thursday 22 September 1994, page 11

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


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