No. 526 - Barrington Presbyterian Church

In 1938 the Sheffield district lost two of its churches when both buildings were removed to the North West coast. In January 1938 Sheffield’s Presbyterian church was transported to Ulverstone where it became a Sunday school hall [see No. 323] Five months later the Barrington Presbyterian church was removed to Gawler to become the McCulloch Memorial Church [see No. 458]. The photograph used in this article was taken in the early 1960’s and shows the church at the new site on Gawler Road. This article provides a brief history of the church, which, few people will remember since more than 80 years have passed since its removal from Barrington.

The foundation stone of the Barrington Presbyterian church was laid on Sunday 19 March 1893. For some years prior to this the Presbyterians had held services in the Barrington Wesleyan-Methodist Church [see No. 512] and also in Mr Tuckworth’s Hall.

The building was completed in less than 6 months and was officially opened on Sunday 24 September 1893. A short report published in Launceston’s Daily Telegraph records the event:

“In spite of the inclemency of the weather good congregations assembled at the new church on Sunday last. Service was conducted, morning and evening, by the Rev J. Lyle, M.A., of Launceston, moderator of the Synod of the Presbyterian Church of Tasmania, and by Rev. H. Stewart Anderson B.A., minister of the district, in the afternoon. in the evening the church was packed, many having to content themselves by standing in the porch. The church, which is an exceedingly neat one, was designed by Mr Morris of Ulverstone, as a gift to the church, and was built by Mr J. S. Harrison, of Devonport West, at a cost, with a few extras, of £160. The pulpit, the design of which has not been fixed, will be put in this week, and is to be made of blackwood. The church is comfortably seated for about 100. Besides the old seats which been used in Mr Tuckworth’s Hall, some half a dozen or so new seats with book boards have been made by Mr. A.J. Robertson of Sheffield, and were much admired for their workmanlike finish. The building is about 35ft x 20ft, with a nice vestry behind and porch in front. The Presbyterians are to be congratulated on having obtained such a good building at so little a cost”.

The church served the Presbyterians of Barrington for almost 40 years and the last services were held in in early 1930’s. After World War One Barrington’s population declined significantly with the general migration of people from country areas to larger towns and cities. When its ‘principal supporters’ left the Barrington district the church’s days were numbered. By the time the building was sold in 1938 services had not been held for about 5 years.

In April 1938 advertisements for tenders for the removal of the church were advertised. As contractors “were fully occupied” no tenders were received which resulted in the church being dismantled with the use of voluntary labour. The sections of the building were reassembled on land donated by Mr Les McCulloch. The church was placed next to a small cemetery containing the ancestors of several members of the McCulloch family who were staunch Presbyterians and pioneers of the Gawler district. It was rededicated as the McCulloch Memorial Church on Sunday 28 May 1939.

The church was used as a Sunday school and for fortnightly services. It was in use until the late 1960’s. In the early 1970's the church was sold and removed to a property at Penguin on Ironcliffe Road. The building subsequently fell into a state of disrepair and no longer exists.

The McCulloch Church at Gawler in the early 1960's. Photograph kindly supplied by Christine Jennings.

The North West Post, Saturday 16 September 1893

The McCulloch Cemetery in 2019


The Examiner, Wednesday 22 March 1893, page 3
The Tasmanian, Saturday 25 March 1893, page 11
The North West Post, Saturday 16 September 1893, page 3
Daily Telegraph, Tuesday 26 September 1893, page 2
Advocate, Tuesday 24 March 1938, page 6
Advocate, Saturday 21 May 1938, page 8
Advocate, Monday 29 May 1939, page 6


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