No. 534 - Elphinstone Methodist Church

Elphinstone was once a small rural centre located approximately 8 kilometres from Cressy on the Elphinstone Road. The Elphinstone Methodist Church was opened on 2 May 1909. The congregation had been established eight years earlier with worship conducted in the adjacent State School.

The church had previously been situated at Bishopsbourne, located on the road half-way to Carrick and was known as the Liffey Church. The Cressy correspondent for the Hobart Mercury reported on the opening services:

“An event of more than ordinary importance has just occurred in our district - the opening of a new Methodist Church at Elphinstone, or rather the removal of the building from a neighbourhood where the congregation had almost vanished to a position where it would be better attended a distance of about 10 miles. The contract was secured by Mr. H. Masters, of Bracknell, and included the taking down, re-erection, iron roof, new porch, and pantry outside, and varnishing inside. The cost was £40. On Sunday last Rev. W. H. Taylor conducted the opening service, and Rev. J. E. Warren preached in the evening, in the, presence of a large congregation….”.

Mr. Basil Archer donated Land at Elphinstone and money for fencing. A substantial donation was also given by Mrs William Gibson to help cover the costs of the relocation. The Liffey congregation gave the money they received for the sale of the church organ.

For many years the church had an active congregation as well as a choir and Sunday School. In 1936 the Examiner newspaper reported that Miss E.K. Ellis, besides being the local State School teacher, was also the Sunday School teacher and superintendent. Another notable member of the church was Mrs. Hetta Boon, a mother of 10 and who lived nearby on the “Inglewood” farm. She was an active worker at the church and for a number of years was superintendent of the Elphinstone Sunday School.

With the passing of years and fewer people living in the area combined with the advent of the motor car, enabling easy travel beyond the local area, numbers attending the church declined, leading to its closure.

The church was auctioned on Friday, 4 July 1947 and sold to Mr. A. Lockwood of Cressy for a figure of around £100. It was moved into Cressy dragged along the road by a steam engine. With the job not being complete before nightfall, the engine and building was left beside the road overnight and completed the five mile trip next day.

The church was broken up and the material was used to enlarge Mr Lockwood’s house at Cressy.

The Liffey Road church at its new location at Elphinstone (c.1910). Photo courtesy of Ivan Badcock

Map showing the location of Elphinstone - source: placenames.gov.tas.au


Sources:

The Mercury, Friday 7 May 1909, page 2
Examiner, Thursday 17 December 1936, page 5
Examiner, Saturday 5 July 1947, page 3 

Notes by Ivan Badcock – 23 May 2019 - with thanks to Ivan for the notes and also the photograph of the church.

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