No. 433 - St Andrew's at Tunnack - 'Old Stone for a New Church'

This is a follow-up post on recent article about Tunnack’s first Presbyterian church, which was established in 1875 and closed in the 1950’s. [see No. 431]

By the 1940’s the need to replace the old split timber and shingle roof church at Stuartfield could no longer be avoided. In 1950 Tunnack’s presbyterians undertook the task of building a new church in a more accessible location on a site in the town. A block of land was donated by Mr George Scott and over the next two years the congregation set out to raise the necessary funds.
Construction began in February 1953 with the laying of the foundation stone. The Examiner reported on the event and noted the interesting origin of the stone:

“A stone quarried at Tiberias by convict labour 120 years ago was laid as the foundation stone of a new Presbyterian Church at Tunnack on Saturday. The stone, laid by the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Tasmania (Rev. A. M. McMaster), was originally quarried for the Tiberias homestead, which is now the home of Mr. H. L. Bailey. He gave it to the church as the foundation stone of the new church. The service was attended by about 70 residents, who later donated over £50 towards the church. The church will be erected at the rear of the post office at Tunnack on a site given to the church by Mr. George Scott, Tunnack. It will cost over £1000”.

The building was completed by mid 1953 and officially opened in November. Once again the Examiner provides an account of the occasion which took place in unseasonal icy weather:

“Nearly 200 people from all parts of the Oatlands Presbyterian parish braved snow storms to attend the opening and dedication of the new Presbyterian Church at Tunnack by the Moderator of the Church in Tasmania (the Rt. Rev. R. J. Scrimgeour, of Bothwell). The large congregation overflowed the church into the vestry and lobbies. The Moderator, opening and dedicating the new building as St. Andrew’s Church, expressed greetings and congratulations from the Presbyterian Church in Tasmania to those responsible for making the church an established fact. The former minister of the parish (the Rev. J. Henderson, of Evandale) made a special trip to take part in the dedication service. The present minister of the parish (the Rev. A. M. McMaster) also assisted with the service”.

St Andrew’s served the Presbyterians of Tunnack for just over 50 years. It became a part of the Uniting Church in the 1970’s but was closed shortly after the turn of this century. The photographs below were taken in 2019 where the church is still appears in its original form.

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019

The convict cut stone from Tiberius Homestead. Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019


Sources:

Mercury, Monday 3 July 1950
Examiner, Monday 2 March 1953
Mercury , Hobart , Monday 2 March 1953
Examiner, Tuesday 10 November 1953
Mercury, Tuesday 10 November 1953
Mercury, Thursday 5 August 1954


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