No. 381 - Holy Trinity Anglican Church at Ulverstone - "Unworthy of the People"

Ulverstone, or River Leven, as it was originally known, was settled by Europeans from the late 1840’s after Andrew Risby developed farmland in the area. In 1854 Hugh Ross McKay opened the first store and in 1857 the Leven Post Office was established. Despite the growth of River Leven, the settlement remained without a church until the mid 1860’s.

In 1867 the Leven correspondent for the Launceston Examiner complained:


“…at the Leven there exists not one place which is solely devoted to the worship of God. To be sure services are held in private dwellings by two or three denominations, which no doubt are useful in a degree; but several persons have an aversion to attend meetings held under these circumstances.”

At this time an Anglican Sunday school was conducted in the old watch-house (near the railway bridge) and Mr James Fogg’s General Store was used for religious services. In 1866 the first serious effort to erect an Anglican church began and a subscription list was drawn up. At a meeting of church wardens held in the old watch-house, it was resolved that the church be called “Christ Church”. However, at the next meeting, before the confirmation of the minutes, it was unanimously resolved to call the new church ‘Trinity Church’.

Although a modest building, there were significant delays in completing the building. According to the Examiner’s correspondent:



“I suppose it would have been nearly ready for occupation…had it not [been for the] objection …taken by the Building Committee to some of the materials proposed to be employed. It is hoped that no more delay will arise than cannot be avoided, as this will be the first regular place of worship of any importance erected on the Leven. In the meantime service is held every Sabbath in Mr Fogg’s store, accompanied by a Sunday-school which takes place either before or after church. This last institution is likely to prove of great advantage to the rising generation - as means of instruction even in the rudiments are rare at the Leven”.

Timber for the building was donated by Mr. Frampton of Corn Hill. The church was built on the corner of Leven and Lovett Street and was finally completed and opened for its first service on Thursday 26th November 1868. The opening was described by the River Leven correspondent for the Examiner:

“The new church of which I have spoken at different times as in course of erection was opened for Divine service last Thursday. The officiating clergyman on that occasion was the venerable Archdeacon Reibey, who preached an eloquent sermon to an apparently attentive audience. The Rev. Mr. Adams from Deloraine and the Rev. Mr. Brome, who is to be the regular incumbent, also assisted in the services. The building, which is a neat little edifice, was quite filled, and some few persons had to take up a position about the door. There must have been more than 150 present, and their is no doubt that number would have been exceeded had the accommodation been greater. The collection yielded over £7 15s, which is a respectable sum for this district. The interest of the services was greatly enhanced by the accompaniment of excellent music, which must always be considered an important adjunct in Divine worship. The instrument employed is one of American origin called an organette or diminutive organ, and was designed to be an improvement on the harmonium…”


The church stood at the site on Leven Street for 25 years before it was removed to a new site on the corner of Grove Street and King’s Parade. The move was not without controversy. In 1890 plans were made to build a new church on the corner of Patrick and Victoria Streets, but in the following year a decision was made to remove and then enlarge the old church at another site on King’s Parade which had been donated by James (Philosopher) Smith. A report in the Daily Telegraph in August 1893 reveals that cost and accessibility had been significant issues:

“Many of us would rather have a new church, but it is doubtful if it can be built for some years…. Therefore it is, perhaps, the better plan to enlarge the old church and remove it nearer to the population, and let it be starting something towards building a new one…”.

By the following month the removal of the church was underway:

“Work in connection with the building of the new Anglican Church at Ulverstone is proceeding a pace. The old fabric on the Gawler road has been dismantled, and the walls will be conveyed to the site on the Esplanade this week, to form part of the new structure now in course of erection. The services of the church were read in the Congregational chapel on Sunday, in which building they will be continued until the new church is ready for occupation”.

The church was officially reopened on Sunday 24th December 1893. Before its official opening the church had been used four days earlier in a ceremony 
led by Bishop Montgomery, for the ordination of James Roper to the order of deacon.

It was always intended that a new church be built at the King's Parade site and fundraising for this began in the 1920’s. On the occasion of Holy Trinity’s 60th Jubilee celebration in 1928, Bishop Hay recalled that:

“On his first visit to Ulverstone, he remarked on the environments of the town, the prosperous district, fine buildings, etc., but expressed his disappointment at the poor church building, which was unworthy of the people of so beautiful a town…. He hoped this day of thanksgiving would mean a definite start for the erection of a building to the glory of God and worthy of the parish.”

Another 30 years were to pass before Bishop Hay’s hopes were realised. In 1960 a foundation stone was laid for a new and modern church, designed by Louis Williams. It was a brick building with a 45 foot tower standing seperate from the church. The church was dedicated in May 1961 and consecrated in 1978.  It is now know as t
he Ulverstone Anglican Church.

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

Holy Trinity before its removal to King's Parade.  Photo courtesy of Craig Broadfield - From Ulverstone and District - A Pictorial History Face Book Group

Holy Trinity at King's Parade.  Photo courtesy of Craig Broadfield - From Ulverstone and District - A Pictorial History Face Book Group

  Photo courtesy of Craig Broadfield - From Ulverstone and District - A Pictorial History Face Book Group

Holy Trinity at King's Parade.  Photo courtesy of Craig Broadfield - From Ulverstone and District - A Pictorial History Face Book Group

The new church under construction.  Photo courtesy of Craig Broadfield - From Ulverstone and District - A Pictorial History Face Book Group
Holy Trinity: Hardy Wilson collection - National Library of Australia - PIC/11872/88 LOC Album1126/2

Sources:

Launceston Examiner, Thursday 7 December 1865, page 3
Cornwall Chronicle, Saturday 16 November 1867, page 5
Launceston Examiner, Saturday 11 April 1868, page 3
Launceston Examiner, Saturday 5 December 1868, page 5
Daily Telegraph, Thursday 3 August 1893, page 1
Coastal News and North Western Advertiser, Friday 4 August 1893, page 2
The North West Post, Tuesday 3 October 1893, page 2
Daily Telegraph, Friday 23 March 1894, page 4
Advocate, Tuesday 11 December 1928, page 2
Examiner, Friday 14 December 1928, page 5
Advocate, Friday 14 December 1928, page 2
Advocate, Thursday 25 November 1948, page 4

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











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