No. 535 - Nietta Methodist Church - "The Light to Many Dark Souls"

Nietta is a rural community situated approximately 30km south of Ulverstone. Settlement of this once densely forested district began in 1886 but it was not until the establishment of a railway line to Ulverstone in 1915 that the area became readily accessible. A post office and a State school were opened in 1910 but the school was subject to frequent closure due to the poor condition of the roads. Methodist and Anglican churches were built in the early 20th century but these are now closed and have been removed.

Two Methodist churches were built at Nietta; the first opened in 1920 but was replaced by a second church in 1934. In 1919 land was donated by Mrs Green and in October of that year the Advocate reported that “arrangements were practically completed for the erection of a church”. However, residents of the district were disappointed that the church was not “centrally situated” so as to serve both Nietta South and Nietta. In the same month the Methodist Assembly gave permission for the removal of two detached rooms from the parsonage at Ulverstone to be used as a temporary church at Nietta.

In January 1920 a decision was made to build the church on another site and the Methodists purchased land off Mr R. Hills for the sum of £5 who then donated the money back to assist furnishing the building. The church opened in March 1920 and the opening services were reported by the Advocate:

“Wednesday was a red letter day in the minds of the Methodists and friends of Nietta South, the occasion being the official opening of a new Methodist Church. A first-class programme was given in the evening, presided over by Revs. Doherty and Denison, the building being taxed to utmost capacity…”. Reverend Doherty remarked that “it would be known in the future as a house of prayer and it would be the light to many dark souls”.

The ‘temporary church’ served the Methodists of Nietta for a little over a decade and was replaced by a new building in 1934. The new church was built on the same site as the temporary church. The Advocate reported on the opening which took place on Saturday 31 March:

“A pleasing feature of the opening of the new Methodist Church was that the building is practically free of debt. The celebrations which marked the opening were very successful, and many visitors were present, including Mr. B. Hills, of Cobden (Victoria), who gave the land on which the original building stood, and where the new one has been placed. It was largely owing to the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. O. J. Filleul that the new building, which was urgently needed, was made possible. For 14 months they provided accommodation for the home missionary free, and allowed the money to go towards the new church, and £61 was the result. The cost, of the building in actual cash was approximately £130, but added to this was a large amount of voluntary labor, which considerably reduced the expense. Large congregations attended the opening celebrations. Revs. B. Crisp, H. M. Knuckey and F. T. Cleverdon were among the ministers present….”

The last service at the church was held in 1967. The building was later removed and until recently was used as a barn.

The Nietta Methodist Church - possibly taken at the opening of the second church in 1934. Source: Courtesy of Craig Broadfield - posted 26-10-13 Ulverstone & District Facebook Group

Map showing the location of North and South Nietta - source: placenames.gov.tas.au

Sources:

The Advocate, Tuesday 15 July 1919, page 2
The Advocate, Friday 3 October 1919, page 2
The Advocate, Saturday 11 October 1919, page 2
The Advocate, Wednesday 22 October 1919, page 2
The Advocate, Monday 12 January 1920, page 2
The Advocate, Thursday 4 March 1920, page 2
The Advocate, Saturday 6 March 1920, page 2
Advocate, Wednesday 21 March 1934, page 6
Advocate, Saturday 7 April 1934, page 6










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