No. 309 - The Mole Creek Methodist [Uniting] Church - 'Fervid and Earnest Appeal'

In 1875 the first Methodist services were held at Mole Creek following the establishment of a Sunday school at the settlement. The construction of a church and schoolhouse began in late 1876. A report in The Examiner reveals Launceston businessman and philanthropist, Henry Reed, [who owned Wesley Dale near Mole Creek] had a significant hand in the project:

“…Neighbours and friends interested in [the] Mole Creek Wesleyan Chapel provided a tea to raise funds for liquidation of a debt upon the building, that it might be opened free. By this means £10 5s was raised, leaving a deficiency of £10. This was subscribed, Henry Reed, Esq., giving, in addition to the ground and previous subscription of £5, another similar amount. Mr Reed expressed himself prepared to sign the necessary documents [to transfer the land], now that the conditions of the grant were fulfilled…”

The church opened on the 9th December 1877. The correspondent for the Launceston Examiner wrote:

“The opening service was conducted by Rev. H. Lavers, of Deloraine. The little chapel was crowded, some not being able to obtain sitting room; altogether I should think that there were 200 present. The chapel is a neat building, and a three-roomed cottage close by offers inducement to open a day school, a blessing much needed….”.

The church was completed at a cost of £160. The first permanent minister, Reverend Robert Brown was appointed in 1879. The church was rented by the Methodists to the Board of Education for use as a State school between June 1879 to June 1884. A report on schools in the district noted that:

“The Mole Creek School is a better building, a Wesleyan Chapel. It is not half big enough for the children who ought to attend”.

It appears that the church also became inadequate for the purpose of worship. In July 1899 the Daily Telegraph reported:

“A meeting was held for the purpose of considering the desirability of either enlarging the present [building] or erecting a new church… Some argued in favour of enlarging the present building, as it was thought anything more than this would be beyond their means. …. Others argued that it was not wise to enlarge the present building, owing to its proportions and age…. After considerable discussion it was unanimously carried that a new building be erected suitable to the locality and needs of the congregation”.

The new church was completed in January 1900 with anniversary services held in the “larger and more commodious building”. However, the official opening services only took place three months later on Sunday 25th March 1900:

“The church was filled to capacity on both occasions, and all present seemed impressed with the fervid and earnest appeal of the preacher. Special hymns were sung, and the offertory taken fairly good”.

The new church served the Methodists of Mole Creek for 110 years. It became part of the Uniting Church in the 1970’s and closed in 2010. It was subsequently sold and is now a private residence.

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018  ©  

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018  ©  

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018  ©  

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018  ©  

Sources:

The Mercury, Saturday 11 November 1876, page 2
The Weekly Examiner, Saturday 24 November 1877, page 3
The Weekly Examiner, Saturday 15 December 1877, page 14
The Mercury, Saturday 8 December 1883, page 1
The Mercury, Monday 4 February 1884, page 3
Daily Telegraph, Thursday 13 July 1899, page 2
The Mercury, Monday 20 November 1899, page 4
Daily Telegraph, Wednesday 17 January 1900, page 6
Daily Telegraph, Thursday 29 March 1900, page 4
Examiner, Friday 9 April 1926, page 3

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.

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