No. 484 - Bridport Uniting (Methodist) Church

Bridport is a small resort town on Tasmania’s north-east coast situated at the mouth of the Brid River. It was once a significant port for hinterland mining settlements during the boom of the late 19th century.

The first Methodist services and Sunday school classes were held in an old boat shed on the eastern side of Bridport. Later, services were held in Bridport’s public hall. The move to build a church can be dated to 1915 when it was noted in the Scottsdale Methodist Trustees annual report:

“Thanks to the liberality of Mr D. McLennan….. a block of land…has been secured at Bridport in a very central position, and it is hoped that as the Port develops steps will be taken to erect a Methodist church thereon”.

Construction of a church began in late March 1919. The North-East Advertiser reported:

“The scene at the site of the Methodist Church at Bridport on Wednesday was a hive of industry, as a Working Bee of about a dozen men put in almost the whole day and completed the framework of the building”.

The report also noted that Mr. E Button of Scottsdale “made a generous gift of all the scantling required”. According to Max Stansall, author of Tasmanian Methodism, the church's gothic windows were salvaged from a building in Springfield. For reasons unknown work on the church stalled and the building was only to be completed in mid 1921. In the interim religious services continued to take place in Bridport’s public hall.

In August 1921 the North-Eastern Advertiser reported:

“After many delays the Methodist Church at Bridport has been completed, except for the lining….Last Sunday afternoon at 3 o’clock the opening service was held, when the building was taxed to its utmost, and extra seating had to be provided…. Five motor car loads from Scottsdale helped to increase the spirit of joy and thanksgiving”.

Soon after opening, the church became the temporary home of Bridport’s State school which had been using the public hall. In September 1921 the North East Advertiser reported:

“State school teacher (Miss Somerville) accompanied by her scholars, and assisted by Messrs. Brewer and Andrews, brought all of the school furnishings from the Hall to the Church, so as to be ready to commence school in the new building on the following morning”.

In the 1990’s the old Bridport church was replaced by a modern cement-block building, now the Bridport Uniting Church. The old church was removed to Branxholm (see photograph below) and used as an outbuilding next to a house. 



Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019


Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019


Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019


A photo of what is believed to be the original Bridport Methodist Church - now at Branxholm. Photo used with permission of Diego Basile

Sources:

North-Eastern Advertiser, Friday 16 July 1915, page 3
North-Eastern Advertiser, Friday 4 April 1919, page 2
Examiner, Thursday 27 January 1921, page 2
Daily Telegraph, Saturday 29 January 1921, page 12
North-Eastern Advertiser, Tuesday 16 August 1921, page 2
Examiner, Thursday 18 August 1921, page 8
North-Eastern Advertiser, Friday 2 September 1921, page 2

Stansall, M. E. J and Methodist Church of Australasia Tasmanian Methodism, 1820-1975 : compiled at the time of last Meeting of Methodism prior to union. Methodist Church of Australasia, Launceston, Tas, 1975.



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