No. 383 - St Saviour's at Nietta - 'Moving the Church'

Nietta is a rural community situated approximately 30km south of Ulverstone. Settlement of this once densely forested district began in 1886 but it was not until the establishment of a railway line to Ulverstone in 1915 that the area became readily accessible. A post office and a State school were opened in 1910 but the school was subject to frequent closure due to the poor condition of the roads. A Methodist and an Anglican church were built in the early 20th century but these have both been removed.

From about 1911 regular Anglican services held in the home of Mrs Winter. In 1913 plans were made to build a church which could also be used as a school. This came to fruition in October 1914 with the opening of a church built by Mr Alex Harman.

The church was also used as a school on week days until 1921when a new State school was opened. The Advocate reported:

“The new school at Nietta South was occupied during the week. Both teacher and pupils find this up-to-date building a vast improvement on the Anglican Church Hall, where school has been carried on for a number of years…”

The opening of the new school provided an opportunity for the church to be removed to a more accessible location. In 1922 the Advocate reported:

“Some considerable time ago it was deemed advisable to remove the Anglican church at Nietta South to a central site which has been secured on the farm recently occupied by Mr. A Graham. This position will be much appreciated by those attending the church. The work of removal is now being carried out by Mr. W. Love, and is expected six weeks or two months will see the job completed”.

Mr Graham, a returned soldier, arrived in Nietta in 1920 but was forced to give up farming after an “uphill fight”, partly a consequence of poor health, due to his exposure to gas during the war. The removal and reconstruction of the church on the Graham’s farm is captured in a sequence of photographs, 'Moving the Church', in an album belonging to the Gaunt family. [see below]
Four years after the move, the Nietta church was consecrated in November 1926. The Advocate published a short report of the ceremony:

“The Bishop of Tasmania (Right Rev. Dr. Snowdon Hay) visited Nietta last Friday, and … On Friday afternoon performed the dedication of the Nietta church, which was named St Saviour’s… Although the weather was very unpleasant, there was a large attendance. After the dedication service, the bishop confirmed 11 candidates. At the conclusion of the services, all adjourned to the hall, …The Nietta church people are to congratulated on their pretty little church, and the way they have worked together in order to complete paying off the debt”. 

The subsequent history of St Saviour’s is uneventful. It suffered the same fate as many of the churches across the region with rural depopulation accelerating after the Second World War resulting in dwindling congregations and church closures. St Saviours continued to be used until the 1960’s and was pulled down some time after this. I have not found any photographs of the church, and as far as I know, the photographs from the Gaunt family album are the only images that exist. 


A photograph from the album of the Gaunts at Nietta: Libraries Tasmania item no. PH30-9702
A photograph from the album of the Gaunts at Nietta: Libraries Tasmania item no. PH30-9702


A photograph from the album of the Gaunts at Nietta: Libraries Tasmania item no. PH30-9702

A photograph from the album of the Gaunts at Nietta: Libraries Tasmania item no. PH30-9702

Sources:

North West Post, Wednesday 7 October 1914, page 4
Advocate, Saturday 25 June 1921, page 4
Advocate, Thursday 20 April 1922, page 4
Advocate, Thursday 3 August 1922, page 4
Advocate, Monday 22 August 1922, page 4
Advocate, Wednesday 10 November 1926, page 4
Advocate, Wednesday 8 June 1927, page 11

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

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