No. 356 - St Mark's at Bridport

Bridport is a resort town on Tasmania’s north-east coast situated at the mouth of the Brid River. It was once an important port for hinterland settlements during the mining boom of the late 19th century.

Bridport was part of the Scottsdale parish and regular Anglican services were held in the town before the end of the Great War. By the late 1920’s fundraising began for building a church and tenders were advertised in early 1931.


"The foundation stone was laid in a ceremony on 17 May 1931. The North Eastern Advertiser noted that it was “the first ceremony of its kind In the parish for the churches of St Paul [Springfield] and St Barnabas [Scottsdale] appear to have no foundation stones in the commonly received sense of the term” .


Building was completed within two months and the church was dedicated by Bishop Hay on Sunday 19 July 1931. The North East Advertiser reported:

“On Sunday afternoon last, all roads in the North-East led to Bridport. Nearly half an hour before the Dedication Service began an endless procession of cars, horse vehicles and pedestrians was arriving from all directions. The perfect weather conditions had encouraged interested parishioners and friends from neighbouring districts to travel from far afield and it was soon understood that many would be disappointed in their hope of gaining admission much less a seat at the service”.

In fact, on its opening, the church had no seating of its own and chairs were lent by the Churchwardens of St Barnabas in Scottsdale for a period of 12 months until pews could be constructed.

The building was designed and built by local contractors. The Advertiser described the furnishings of the church:


“The furniture for the sanctuary has been designed and locally constructed. It is of Tasmanian oak, but in most cases stained to match the blackwood lectern given by the Churchwardens of St Barnabas. The carpet before and beneath the altar have red as the dominant colour with touches of rich blue, gold and green. The dorsal and riddel curtains are of blue with blue and gold brocade introduced as panels behind the Altar cross and candlesticks…. The Riddel Columns are of golden oak with castellated heads and relieved with blackwood mouldings…”

The church’s original design made provision for the extension of the building but this were never completed. However, a Sunday school was built behind the church in the 1950’s. St Mark’s is now one of only two Anglican churches in the Dorset Parish which covers most of north east Tasmania.

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019

The Sunday school hall - Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019

Sources:

North-Eastern Advertiser Tuesday 19 May 1931, page 2

North-Eastern Advertiser, Tuesday 14 July 1931, page 2
Advocate, Monday 20 July 1931, page 2
Mercury, Monday 20 July 1931, page 3
North-Eastern Advertiser, Tuesday 21 July 1931, page 3

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

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