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

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 strikes the spectator at once, as it is badly in need of a coat of paint”.

In the following month the North West Post reported on progress made with regard to the church’s poor condition:

“This state of affairs was noticed by Miss Ruby Perkins, of “Spalford Farm”, and she at once set to work to devise some means wherewith the building could be made to present a more up-to-date appearance”.

A fundraising fair was organised and the building was successfully renovated. These efforts were undone when the church was destroyed in a violent storm which swept across the north west coast in the spring of 1934. The Advocate reported:

“Shortly before 3 o’clock yesterday afternoon the Church of England at Abbotsham, five miles from Ulverstone, was blown down during a severe storm which passed through the district. Heavy rain fell, and the wind blew with hurricane force, uprooting several large trees in the district. The building completely collapsed…. The destruction of the building will be a heavy loss to the parish, as it was used regularly for services. The altar was undamaged but the organ was badly knocked about”.

A decision was made to rebuild the church and services were held in the State school until the new building was completed. The new church was dedicated by Bishop Hay in June 1938. The church continued to be used until services ceased in the early 1970’s. The building was then sold and moved to a nearby property where it was used as a shed.

St Nicholas' Anglican Church - The Mercury, 9 November 1934

A recent photograph of St Nicholas' church at its new location - photograph supplied

The Advocate, Friday 9 November 1934


Launceston Examiner, Wednesday 15 June 1887, page 3
The North West Post, Thursday 24 February 1898, page 2
The North West Post, Tuesday 1 November 1898, page 2
The North West Post, Friday 25 November 1910, page 3
North West Post, Friday 9 December 1910, page 2
The Advocate, Friday 9 November 1934, page 2
The Advocate, Wednesday 14 November 1934, page 6
The Examiner, Tuesday 7 June 1938, page 4
The Advocate, Tuesday 7 June 1938, page 6

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


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