No. 307 - The Glenorchy Uniting Church

The first Methodist church at Glenorchy opened in 1831 at O’Brien’s Bridge [No. 298], about 200 metres from the present church. After the new church opened, the O’ Brien’s Bridge chapel was used as a Methodist Sunday school until 1958.

Mr John Hallam, who donated the land for the new church, laid the foundation stone on 16th April 1910. The building was completed and opened on 5th October 1910. The Hobart Daily Post reported on the services and provides a short description of the church:

“The church is a most handsome structure of brick with a seating capacity of 150…the windows are of stained glass, made to the designs of Rev. Vawdon by the Trowbridge Brothers of Hobart… Most of them have been given as memorial windows and are so inscribed”.

The memorial windows were casualties of a bout of hooliganism in 1917. Around the time of the Great War, Glenorchy was still a rural settlement on the fringe of Hobart and evidently an area of some poverty. There are frequent reports of fruit stealing and stone throwing and the churches were not exempt from vandalism. A correspondent writing in the Hobart Mercury complained about fruit stealing and added:

“…By way of variety, stone-throwing is indulged in, street lamps being first favourites, numbers being broken. Recently two handsome memorial windows in the Methodist Church were deliberately broken (in spite of steel guards), and about £6 worth of damage was done. In one of the Sunday-schools numbers of panes of glass have been broken. Private houses come next, and flower gardens suffer, canaries removed from cages, etc. …”.

As Glenorchy developed into a satellite town of Hobart, the church thrived and expanded. A new Sunday-school hall was built on Kensington Street in 1958 and the church was extended in the 1960’s. In the 1970’s, the Presbyterian and Methodists of Glenorchy combined as part of the Uniting Church. Although numbers have dwindled in recent years, the church has an active congregation and the building is still used for worship.

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Sources:

Daily Post, Friday 7 October 1910, page 3
The Mercury, Tuesday 11 October 1910, page 6
The Mercury, Friday 5 January 1917, page 8
The Mercury, Tuesday 9 January 1917,  page 8

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, Tasmania, 1975.

https://derwentcluster.unitingchurch.org.au/glenorchy/history/

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