No. 351 - The Ulverstone Uniting [Methodist] Church - "Good Coming Out of Evil"

The Ulverstone Uniting [Methodist] church opened in December 1893 replacing an earlier church built in 1880. This church was destroyed by a ‘cyclone’ which struck Ulverstone in May 1893. [see No. 339 ]
Such was the response of the community to the disaster that funds were quickly raised for the building of a substantially larger church. The foundation stone was laid on 4 October 1893, less than 6 months after the ‘cyclone’. The building was completed before the year’s end and was officially opened on 31 December 1893. The North West Post reported on the opening:

"The pretty little Gothic brick church that stands in Reibey street Ulverstone, in place of the older wooden structure, … was opened for divine worship on Sunday, when the Rev. W. Burridge, of Devonport, preached to large congregations, morning, afternoon, and evening. The services were of a bright, joyful character, expressive of thanks to God for good coming out of evil…. The Rev. W. Burridge said other speakers had referred to the beauty of the church, and he would follow their good example. He was much impressed with the splendid acoustic properties of the building. The Wesleyans of Ulverstone might well be proud of the present edifice, which had risen on the ruins of the old wooden church….”

The new building enjoyed a relatively uneventful history. In 1902, following the Methodist Union, it combined with the Primitive Methodist Church located at Gravel Hill on the outskirts of Ulverstone* In 1923 the building was substantially extended after serious consideration was given to replacing the church entirely and using it as a Sunday school. Instead, the building was extended by 15ft and a ‘commodious’ Sunday school room was built adjoining the rear of the church. In 1940, in celebration of the church’s diamond jubilee, two further school rooms were built with funds from a bequest from Mr J.C. Curnow, a former Sunday school superintendent. In 1953 a school hall was added to the church complex.
The Ulverstone Methodist Church typified an era where church and community were indistinguishable. In addition to the Sunday school and choir there was also a Christian Endeavour Society, a Womens’ Guild, an 'Auxiliary to Foreign Missions' and also a Tennis and Badminton Club.

In the 1977, the Ulverstone Methodist Church combined with the Ulverstone Congregational church to become the Ulverstone Uniting Church. In 2020, the church will celebrate the 140th anniversary of its foundation with the establishment of the first simple paling church built on Reibey Street in 1880.

* The Gravel Hill Primitive Methodist Church will feature in a future blog entry.

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019

North West Post, Saturday 7 October 1893, page 4
North West Post, Thursday 4 January 1894, page 4
Northern Standard, Wednesday 16 August 1922, page 3
Advocate, Monday 23 October 1922, page 2
Advocate, Saturday 4 October 1930, page 13
Advocate, Friday 11 October 1940, page 4
Advocate, Monday 23 March 1953, 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, Tas, 1975.


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