No. 516 - Railton Gospel Hall

Railton is a country town approximately 20 kilometres south of Devonport. It was first known as Redwater Creek but its is unlikely that the later name of Railton has anything to do with railways. The name Railton was used as early as 1859 but there were no trains in the area until the mid 1860’s. Legend has it that the town was named after a member of the Winter family, Miss Railton Winter. But the coming of the railway was important to the town, which gained a new hotel, a public hall and general store. Four religious denominations were established at Railton including Catholic, Anglican, Methodist and the Christian Brethren.

The Christian Brethren, also known as the Plymouth Brethren, originated in Great Britain in the 1820s. By the mid 19th century the movement had spread to Australia, with the first revival meetings held in Tasmania from 1869. As a result, fellowships were formed in Hobart, Launceston, the Huon Valley, Smithton, Sheffield, Wynyard, Burnie and Scottsdale by the end of the 1870s. While the Brethren had a presence in the Railton area at the turn of the 20th century, it was not until the 1920’s that a place of worship was built.

The Railton Gospel Hall hall opened over the weekend of 14 and 15 December 1924. Like most Gospel Halls, the Railton hall was built with voluntary labour although most of the carpentry and joinery work was completed free of charge by Mr J. King and Mr W. Murfet. Some assistance was given by the Brethren community at nearby Sheffield.

The Burnie Advocate provides a brief report on the opening services:

“On Sunday last the new Gospel Hall was opened for public services, when two gatherings were held, the congregations being large, on each occasion. Several brethren from other centres were amongst the speakers. On Monday the meetings were continued. Afternoon and evening services were held, the congregations again being large. At night particularly the seating capacity of the hall was fully taxed…. It is proposed shortly after the new year to hold a week's special services in the building. It is worthy of mention that the new hall, which is well-finished building, has been erected entirely by voluntary offering, both as regards the money for material and the labor of erection”.

By 2019 three out of four of Railton’s churches have closed with Anglican church due to be closed this year. The Brethren’s Gospel Hall was closed some years back and was subsequently converted into a house.

A Google Street-view of the hall in 2010

The Gospel Hall in 2019 - Photograph Duncan Grant



Sources:

The Advocate, Wednesday 3 December 1924, page 4
Daily Telegraph, Thursday 4 December 1924, page 2
The Advocate, Saturday 20 December 1924, page 4
The Mercury, 30 June 1991



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