No. 318 - The Church of St Therese of the Child Jesus at Avoca

The church of St Therese at Avoca replaced the old Catholic weatherboard Church of the Guardian Angels which had been built in 1884. (No. 166) In the 1940’s a large bequest was left by Mrs Therese Davies to build a modern church for the Catholics of the Avoca district. In the 1950’s planning for a new church got under way with a modern design by Rod Cooper which had a capacity to seat 150. The building was completed and opened by Archbishop Young in February 1956. The modern building was a daring design for a small heritage country town.

The Tasmanian Catholic Standard provides a detailed description of the building:

“It is of modern design in light-coloured brick and features four large windows on each side, extending right up to the ceiling. There is also a large and impressive window in the front… The windows are a combination of green and amber cathedral glass.

Beneath each window the brickwork is broken by random rubble stonework in a variety of coloured sandstone. A unique feature of the building is the sloping roof rising from the rear to above the sanctuary. … The interior of the church has a simple dignity, with painted walls, and patterned brickwork round the sanctuary. Beautiful stained hard-wear panelling forms the background for the altar. The altar is of stained oak in liturgical design. Including in the building are the sacristy and an overnight room for the priest. The church is surmounted by a 20ft metal cross…”

St Therese served Avoca for about 50 years before it was closed and deconsecrated. It was sold and has been converted into a house. It is virtually unchanged from the description in the Catholic Standard apart from the 20ft metal cross, which has been removed.

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2018

The interior of the Church - source: Building on Firm Foundations

Dooley, Lorraine.  Building on firm foundations : the Cooper family in Tasmania, stonemasons, builders and architects / Lorraine Dooley  Lorraine M Dooley Lenah Valley, Tas  2014

Southerwood, W. T Planting a faith in Tasmania : the country parishes. [W. T. Southerwood], [Hobart], 1977.

The Tasmanian Catholic Standard, Friday 14 February 1956.


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