No. 371 - St John's Mission Hall at Nabowla

Nabowla is a small settlement located on the old Lisle Road, near Scottsdale, in north-east Tasmania. It was established around an important railway station on the 'North Eastern Line'. The settlement was originally named Pagunta, then became known as Lisle Road Station, but this was changed to Nabowla in 1913. Apart from the railway station, Nabowla had three saw mills, a State school, a public hall, a general store, a post office and two churches.

According to Dorothea Henslowe’s ‘Our Heritage of Anglican Churches’, a chapel was used by all denominations at Lisle Road in the 1890’s. By 1910 plans for building an Anglican place of worship had begun following the donation of land for a Mission Hall by Mr A.B. Boyd and Mrs E.M. Rainbow.

Build by John Ferguson, the Mission Hall was completed in time for the Sunday school anniversary held in January 1911. The Daily Telegraph reported:

“The [Sunday school] festival of the Lisle-road Church of England was celebrated on Sunday, when Rev. G. Rowe, … preached afternoon and evening. The occasion was memorable as the new church hall was used for the first time. This really handsome building, costing over £100, will be formally opened and dedicated by the Bishop during his visit to the parish in February…”

There is a brief reference made to Bishop Mercer’s dedication of the St John’s Mission Hall on the 8th February 1911 in a report by the Launceston Examiner:

“…The Bishop of Tasmania, accompanied by the vicar of the parish, the Rev. Rowe, visited Lisle Road. Dr. Mercer opened the new Mission Hall, and administered the rite of confirmation to five females and one male in the afternoon, after which a public reception was held in Smith’s Hall and afternoon tea served by the lady members of the church. In the evening his Lordship delivered a mirth provoking lecture on “Laughter” in the Mission Hall to a very fair audience…”.

There are frequent references in local newspapers to St John’s Mission Hall over the years; many of which relate to fundraising events, harvest festivals and Sunday school activities. The church appears to have had an uneventful history up until its closure in 1990, almost 80 years after it opened. The Mission Hall still survives in the form of a residence and although the the building has undergone some modifications, it is still clearly recognisable.

St John's Mission Hall 1991 - source: photo by Margaret Tassell, QVM: 1997:P:2654

The Mission Hall in 2019: Photograph Duncan Grant

The Mission Hall in 2019: Photograph Duncan Grant


Daily Telegraph, Wednesday 4 January 1911, page 7
Examiner, Friday 20 January 1911, page 3 
Examiner, Thursday 26 January 1911, page 2
Daily Telegraph, Saturday 21 January 1911, page 12
Examiner, Tuesday 14 February 1911, page 8
Examiner, Thursday 4 May 1911, page 7 [Report of the Anglican Synod]
Daily Telegraph, Tuesday 26 March 1912, page 7

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


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