No. 364 - St Paul's at Springfield - 'The Church on the Hill'

Springfield is a rural area which lies approximately 5 kilometres south of Scottsdale in north-east Tasmania. Although Springfield never developed into a town, the district was settled in the 1870’s with a post office opened in 1876 followed by a school in 1884. The district has also supported four churches, with the Wesleyan Methodists being the first to establish a church in 1871. Anglicans at Springfield used the Wesleyan church until they opened their own church in 1884.

The story of St Paul’s began with a meeting of a ‘Church of England Committee’ held in the Springfield Wesleyan chapel in August 1882. In March 1883, this committee finalised its plans to build a church. The local correspondent for the Tasmanian reported:

“…The meeting proceeded to discuss the advisableness of taking immediate steps for the erection of a church upon the ground given by Mr. James Ranson, which has had the timber and scrub on it felled by order of the Committee… the Committee adjourned to the ground, to mark out the exact site for the church. Upon their return some discussion ensued as to the most appropriate name for the new edifice; it was ultimately decided to leave this point to a committee of ladies”.

With the ‘ladies committee’ tasked with naming the church, it was also a woman who had been responsible for bringing an Anglican minister to the Springfield-Scottsdale district in the late 1870’s. Mrs Emily Ladsbury of ‘Home Wood’ had ridden on horseback to Launceston to speak Archdeacon Hales about appointing a clergyman to Springfield. Eventually this was to lead to the arrival of the first permanent minister, Reverend Joseph Clampett.

After its meeting in March 1883, the Committee resolved to meet within a fortnight to consider the plans for the church prepared by Mr. White and to call for tenders for the buildings construction. A parsonage was also to be built for Reverend Clampett, who had become the itinerant minister for the district. The Tasmanian reported that the Committee:

“…Fervently hoped that this work will be proceeded with as rapidly as possible, as at present Mr. Clampett’s only settled habitation seems to be the “pigskin” [saddle] where, by the way, he seems to be quite at home. Still a man working as hard as he does wants some more fixed residence where to rest from his labours”.

The correspondent for the Tasmanian continued:

“As regards the church it cannot be completed too soon. It is only in contemplation to erect quite a modest edifice at first; but however modest it be, it is urgently needed, for had it not been for the Wesleyans the Church of England congregation here would have been driven to elect between worshipping in a barn or in the open air…”

The church was completed in early 1884 and was opened on Sunday 23 March by new appointed Bishop Sandford, who was also the first Bishop of the Anglican Church to visit the district. The Daily Telegraph reported:

“He was met outside by the congregation and members of the Church Committee, to whom he was introduced by the Rev. J. Clampett. Mr. J. White, the secretary, read an address of welcome to his Lordship, to which a suitable reply was given…”.

St Paul’s and the adjoining cemetery were consecrated on 18 January 1893 by Bishop Montgomery.

Although St Paul’s was closed by the Anglican church in 1997, this is not the end of the story of the church. It is now owned by the Friends of St Paul’s, a community group which maintains the historic church and cemetery. It continues to be used for commemorative events and remains at the heart of the Springfield community.


Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019



Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019

Launceston Examiner 22 August 1882
A stone memorial to the St Paul's Guild and Mother's Union


St Paul's Cemetery 










Sources:

Launceston Examiner 22 August 1882, page 4
The Tasmanian, Saturday 17 March 1883
Daily Telegraph, Monday 24 March 1884, page 3
Launceston Examiner, Monday 16 January 1893, page 5
North-Eastern Advertiser, Friday 6 April 1934, page 3
North-Eastern Advertiser, Tuesday 27 March 1934, page 3
North-Eastern Advertiser, Friday 28 January 1944, page 3
North-Eastern Advertiser, Friday 13 November 1953, page 4
North-Eastern Advertiser 06 March1997, page 3

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

Also see:

Friends of St Paul FB page

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