No. 425 - The Castra Road Presbyterian Church

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 threatening, it became doubtful whether the attendance would be large, but towards noon all doubts were dispelled by a bright sun, and adherents of the denomination began to gather in large numbers, not only from the surrounding district, but from the Leven, Forth, Don, and Penguin. Divine service was held at 12 o’ clock, the seating capacity of the building being fully tested by the large congregation. The opening portion of the service was conducted by the Rev. H.T. Hull, the minister of the district…. The service being concluded, a substantial dinner was laid, provided by the ladies of the congregation.”

The Castra Road church had a relatively short and uneventful life. The growth of Ulverstone and the opening of a Presbyterian church in the town in 1910, improvement in roads and rural depopulation, all contributed to the church’s closure in the 1940’s. In 1947, the building was purchased by the Methodists and relocated to nearby Sprent where it continues to be used by the Uniting church. 

Source:  The Advocate

The Castra Road Church at its new site at Sprent.  Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019

Sources:

The Examiner, Thursday 28 January 1886, page 4
The Mercury, Wednesday 24 August 1887, page 2
The Examiner, Saturday 27 August 1887, page 2
Advocate, Thursday 31 October 1935, page 6


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