No. 487 - Wivenhoe Methodist Church

Wivenhoe is a suburb of Burnie on the eastern banks of the Emu River. It is an industrialised area of Burnie located about 3 kilometres south-east of the town. Wivenhoe is believed to be named after Wivenhoe in England.

The former Methodist church located on Philip Street (previously called Sandy Lane) now barely resembles a church. A side entrance porch, air vents in the shape of a crucifix, three narrow windows and most importantly, a memorial foundation stone, are clues to its previous function. The Philip Street church is in fact the second Methodist church established at Wivenhoe with an earlier church established on Pearl Street in 1923. This building was sold after services were discontinued.

The June 1949 a Sunday school was recommenced at Wivenhoe and church services began in the following year in the Show-ground’s dining-hall. Construction of the church began in 1954 using voluntary labour which included the manufacture of 25 000 concrete bricks.

The foundation stone was ceremonially laid on Saturday 20 November 1954. About 50 members of the church attended the ceremony where the stone was laid by Reverend A.N. Kemp, president of the Methodist conference of Victoria and Tasmania. He was assisted by Mr D. Carnie, supervisor of works and Reverend F.V. Winn, superintendent of the Burnie circuit. The building was completed in September 1956 and the official opening took place a year later on 21 September 1957.

After the opening of the church, Wivenhoe was transformed into an industrial area which resulted in a decline of Methodists living in the area. Soon after the establishment of the Uniting Church in 1977, services ceased and the church was closed and sold. It is currently used as a place of residence.

The old Wivenhoe Methodist church is modest and unpretentious building and it also reminder of the old Wivenhoe before it was transformed into an industrial suburb.



Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019

The laying of the foundation stone by Reverend A.N. Kemp (left) Mr D. Carnie, supervisor of works (centre) and Reverend F.V. Winn, superintendent of the Burnie circuit (right).  The Advocate 23 November 1954

Sources:

Advocate, Wednesday 7 July 1954, page 10
Advocate, Monday 22 November 1954, page 14
The Advocate, Tuesday 23 November 1954, page 19

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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