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Showing posts from May, 2019

No. 432 - Caveside Church of Christ - "The Church in the Paddock"

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Caveside is rural community approximately 30 kilometres south west of Deloraine. Until 1897 it was known as Brookside but was renamed Caveside reflecting the abundance of sinks holes and caves in the region. In the 1870s the Church of Christ arrived in Tasmania and first established itself in Launceston and Hobart. Initially the denomination was simply known as the ‘Christians' then from 1885 as 'Disciples of Christ' and finally as 'Churches of Christ'. The Churches of Christ formed numerous congregations across the north of the Tasmania but especially in the north-west. The Church of Christ was established at Caveside when a church or “meeting house” was built near Cubit’s Creek in 1911. The building was completed in 6 days and three opening services were held on Sunday 21 May. The building was a simple split-timber structure but it was sturdy enough to last the community for 40 years. Plans for a new church were submitted to the Deloraine Council in 1950 but six

No. 431 - Tunnack's First Presbyterian Church - "Joe the Splitter"

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It is hard to imagine that the building in the photograph was used as a church. Since the photograph was taken in 1975 all but the stone chimney has disappeared. The building is typical of the first places of worship built by settlers in the earliest years of the colony. Most spilt timber and shingle roofed churches would have been replaced by a ‘permanent’ church within a few years of the establishment of a settlement. Dedicated for public worship in 1875, Tunnack’s first Presbyterian church remained in use for an incredible 75 years. The church’s founding is described by John Seymour Weeding in “A History of the Lower Midlands of Tasmania”: “The story of Presbyterianism at Tunnack is closely linked with the arrival of four Scottish families - Byers, Hay, Scott and Campbell. For almost twenty years before the erection of of a Presbyterian Church their spiritual guidance was limited to an occasional service in the home or travels to Mt. Seymour or Oatlands to attend Divine Worship”. W

No. 430 - St Nicholas' at Abbotsham - 'It Offends the Eye'

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Abbotsham is a small community on the Castra Road about 7 kilometres south of Ulverstone. The settlement’s name is most likely derived from the town of Abbotsham in Devonshire. There were once three churches in the Abbotsham district, including Methodist, Presbyterian and Anglican; none of which remain. St Nicholas Anglican church opened in 1887 but no report of the event appears to exist. It stood on land belonging to Mr J. Smith. For reasons unknown it was closed and services took place in the home of Mr. T. Shaw. At some stage the building was moved to a position on the Castra Road almost opposite the Abbotsham hall. It was then enlarged in 1898. Subsequent to its removal the church seems to have experienced a period of decline and neglect. In November 1910 the local correspondent for North West Post wrote: “The picturesque district is at present looking its best,…in fact the whole country is smiling. The one object that offends the eye in the Church of England building, this str

No. 429 - St Peter's Anglican Church at Weldborough - "One Could Not Die in a Better Place"

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Weldborough is a former tin mining town on the Tasman Highway about 50 kilometres east of Scottsdale. Established in the 1870’s, Weldborough was initially called Thomas Plains. The discovery of tin gave rise to a mining boom and by the 1880’s the small settlement had become a thriving town. It was renamed Weldborough, after Sir Frederick Aloysius Weld, who was Governor of Tasmania from 1875-1880. By the 1890s it was estimated there were between 800-1200 Chinese working in the local mines, the largest Chinese community on any tin field in Australia. Until the 1890’s Weldborough was without a church although Anglican, Catholic, Methodist and Baptist ‘ministers’ made infrequent appearances at the settlement. In 1890 a report by the local correspondent for the Launceston Examiner was enthused by a visit by two Baptist preachers: “We have been stirred up religiously. After having no services for a month we had Church of England last Sunday week in the morning and Wesleyan in the evening. O

No. 428 - St Andrew's at Bothwell

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Bothwell is one of the oldest settlements in Tasmania. It is situated on the Clyde River, about 75km miles from Hobart. The name Bothwell was given by Governor Arthur after "Bothwell" in Scotland. Bothwell is classified as an historic town. The majority of the first settlers were from Scotland. Bothwell once had four churches of which the Anglican, Uniting (Presbyterian) and Catholic remain. Bothwell’s first Catholic church opened in 1864 [ see No. 424 ] but was replaced by a new church that was built in 1940. In the 1930’s fundraising began to build a new church, ostensibly because of problems with the foundations and because the building was considered too small. The stone was reused in the new church which is not much larger than the building it replaced. The opening of the new church took place in April 1940 and the Mercury’s report on the occassion is reproduced below: “…The blessing and opening of a new church at Bothwell were performed by the Archbishop of Hobart (t

No. 427 - Launceston's Female Factory Chapel

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The brutality of the convict system in colonial Tasmania is rightly a central theme in popular history. However, a critical point is that for all of the system’s notorious cruelty, it was in fact (at least in theory) a revolutionary system designed to reform the criminal class. As such, religion was an integral part of the penal system in Tasmania and played a critical role in the reform of the convict population. A report from 2008 which advocated World Heritage listing of Australia’s convict sites notes that this was achieved through: “…The construction of churches and chapels for the use of convicts; employment of chaplains at penal stations responsible for the moral improvement of convicts; compulsory attendance at church services; reading of prayers by authorities and ‘private masters’ and distribution of Bibles. Separate churches or rooms were often provided for convicts from different religious denominations. Religious observances were often an essential part of the daily lives

No. 426 - The Methodist Church at Parkham - "A Back to Parkham Festival"

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Parkham is a small settlement located about 24 kilometres north of Deloraine. It was once covered in thick bush and became a favourite hideout for the bushranger Matthew Brady and for a time the area was known as Brady's Plains. There were two churches at Parkham; a Wesleyan-Methodist church, established in 1891, and St Alban’s (Anglican) which opened in 1902. Prior to the opening of the Methodist church, the nearest place of worship was at Forest Hall about 8km away. The Launceston Examiner’s report on the church’s opening in September 1891 contains interesting information about the building and its founders: “On Sunday, the 13th inst , quite an event took place in this quiet district in the opening of the new Wesleyan Church. Services were conducted in the morning and afternoon by the Rev. W. Wykes of Westbury, who delivered two powerful and soul-stirring discourses. In the afternoon about one hundred persons were packed Inside the building, many coming from a considerable distan

No. 425 - The Castra Road Presbyterian Church

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The Presbyterian church built at Castra Road in the 1880’s was the first Presbyterian churches established in North West Tasmania. In 1884, Reverend Lyle of St Andrew’s Church at Launceston, met with Scottish settlers at Castra Road, Don and Forth with purpose of establishing a new parish to serve the region. In 1885 Reverend Henry Tremlett Hull was appointed as the first minister and work began on building the regions first church. Fortnightly services were initially held in the Spalford Hall and a manse was established at Don. After land was donated by Mr. J. Robertson, work on fundraising for a building began. The Casta Road church was completed in mid 1887 and officially opened on Thursday 25 August in a service led by Reverend Hull. The local correspondent for the Launceston Examiner submitted a brief report of the ceremony: “The formal opening of the new Presbyterian Church, near Spalford, on the Castra Road, took place… on Thursday last…. The morning being rather cloudy and t

No. 424 - St Andrew's Catholic Church at Bothwell (1864-1939)

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Bothwell is one of the oldest settlements in Tasmania. It is situated on the Clyde River, about 75km miles from Hobart. The name Bothwell was given by Governor Arthur after "Bothwell" in Scotland. Bothwell is classified as an historic town. The majority of the first settlers were from Scotland. Bothwell once had four churches of which the Anglican, Uniting (Presbyterian) and Catholic remain. Bothwell’s first Catholic church opened in 1864 but was replaced by a new church that was built in 1940. This blog entry will briefly review the establishment of the first church and a seperate entry will focus on the second church. Bothwell was never an important centre for the Catholic Church and was administered from Oatlands and later fell under the authority of the New Norfolk parish. Perhaps for this reason there is little published information about the early years of the church in the town. Mass was held from the mid 1850’s and in the early 1860’s the Catholic Church was given

No. 423 - The Bell Post Hill Church at Cressy - "In a twinkling the church was emptied"

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Cressy is small country town south of Longford which was established in the 1840’s. Its name is derived from the ‘Cressy Company’ which was formed in England in the 1820’s to run large agricultural farms in the colony. There were only two churches established at Cressy (a Wesleyan-Methodist and an Anglican church) but up to 6 churches were established in the hamlets of the surrounding district. Most of these have disappeared leaving little record. The Bell Post Hill church, which lay about a kilometre south of the town (situated on Woodburn Lane), was demolished well over a century ago and no trace of it remains. The only significant reference to this church is found in an article in the Daily Telegraph from 1904, by which time the church had already been demolished: “The first Anglican church at Cressy dates back many years ago, and - was situated at Bell Post Hill. Services were held in a house erected there by Mr William Brumby, which he presented to the church, additions being mad

No. 422 - The Legana Christian Church

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The Legana Christian Church is a pentecostal church founded in February 1987. It was originally associated with the Assembly of God. In 1991 land for a church was bought at Legana to build a church. The building was partly constructed from material from the former Charles Street Primary School in Launceston. The building was completed December 1995 and officially opened in August 1996 as the Legana Assembly of God. In 2003 the name was changed to the Legana Christian Church. In 2010 the church ‘realigned’ from the Assemblies of God to ‘Christian Life Churches International’. Christian Life International subsequently became known as ‘Acts 2 Alliance’. Acts 2 Alliance Australia is a movement of churches across Australia where each church is committed to the values found in Acts chapter 2 which has a strong emphasis on making disciples. Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019   Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019 Sources: https://legana.org/about-legana/ http://www.a2a.org.au

No. 421 - Saint John the Baptist at Buckland - "Animosity Will in Time Pass Away, Yet the Building will Remain"

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Buckland is a small historic village on the Tasman Highway about 70km east of Hobart. It was originally known as Prosser’s Plains, after a convict Thomas Prosser, who escaped in 1808 and evaded authorities by hiding out in the area. In 1846 Governor Franklin renamed the settlement in honour of Dean Buckland, a well-known geologist. The main attraction in the village is the church of St.John the Baptist. The establishment of the church is closely bound to the architectural ambitions of Reverend Frederick Holdship Cox. Cox was one of six ordained English ministers secured for Van Diemen’s Land by Bishop Francis Nixon. Cox arrived in Hobart in February 1846. He took charge of the Prosser’s Plain district which had neither a church or schoolroom. Cox conducted his services at the local Police Magistrate’s office while the church was being constructed. Cox was an enthusiastic supporter of the Cambridge Camden society, an ecclesiological society founded in 1839. Cox was familiar with the