No. 540 - Staverton Baptist Church

 Staverton is a rural settlement on the Staverton Road approximately 15 kilometres southwest of Sheffield. The name Staverton is taken from a village in Northhamptonshire, England.  Due to the areas remoteness and the lack of roads, Staverton was not settled until the 1890’s. By the turn of the 19th century a post office had opened and a State school was established. Religious services were held in the school until Staverton’s first and only church was built by the Baptists in 1910.

In December 1910 The North West Post reported on progress made on the Baptist’s new church:

“A new church is in the course of erection here for the Baptists. The land was given by Mr. D. Davis, and the contract has been let to Mr M’Nab, who has already got in the foundations, and is now getting on with the framework. He expects to have the building completed by the middle of next month”.

 Mr M’Nab was as good as his word and the church was completed in time for its official opening in early February 1911. The ‘Baptist Hall’, as it was sometimes referred to, was a small building with Gothic windows and a porch. The The North West Post reported on the opening services:

“The opening of the Baptist Hall took place on Sunday, when the Rev. V. G. Britton preached to large congregations both afternoon and evening. At the afternoon service Mr Britton announced that the building was being opened practically free of debt, as there was enough money in hand and promised to meet all liabilities. The building is a handsome structure, 33ft. by 20ft., well built and furnished throughout. Mr A. M’Nab was the builder, and the varnishing and painting was done by Mr College. Mr G. Robson, of Sheffield, supplied the seats. Mr D, Davis gave the land, and with others did a large amount of work in clearing, &c. The value of the whole, including land, and labour supplied, is about £160. Naturally the residents are very pleased with the hall, and are keenly interested in its welfare. An organ is needed for the place, and this will be procured when funds are available”.

The Staverton Baptist Church had an active congregation until the 1960’s. The rural depopulation that accelerated after World War Two contributed to the church’s closure in the early 1970’s. The church was later sold and converted into a house. The building has been extended and significantly modified but it is still clearly recognisable as Staverton’s old Baptist church.



The Staverton Baptist Church in 1911. Source:  The Tasmanian Mail, 9 March 1911
The church in 2017. Photo courtesy of Roberts Real Estate


The church in 2017. Photo courtesy of Roberts Real Estate

The church in 2017. Photo courtesy of Roberts Real Estate


Sources:

The North West Post, Tuesday 6 December 1910, page 2
The North West Post, Thursday 8 December 1910, page 2
The North West Post,  Friday 3 February 1911, page 2
The North West Post, Thursday 16 February 1911, page 2
The Tasmanian Mail, 9 March 1911, page 23



Comments

  1. thanks for the post, I remember reading the article re the opening in a paper on Trove. The article was oddly placed just below an advertisement for Schnapps! Given that temperance meeting were held in the church, I wondered if the newspaper editor was indulging his sense of humour with the placement.

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    Replies
    1. It may well be John! There are a couple of Presbyterian churches I know of that have been moved onto vineyards for use for cellar door sales. The folk who built these churches were strongly against liquor & held Band of Hope meetings. They must be turning in their graves.

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  2. There's a bit of history to this church.
    I surveyed that area a fews ago.
    The original church block was enlarged as they must have built the church across the boundary.
    In years past such sites weren't too fussed about in terms of fences on boundaries. Important matter at hand was to have the deeds (title) handed over to the church representatives.
    Digger Steers (no passed on) did a lot of work in restoring and renovating. He was a very clever bloke at many things.

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  3. Richard, you are absolutely right. Additional adjoining land was donated by Mr J.F. Cox at a later date but I don't know the purpose for this - maybe the intention was to build a hall?

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  4. I'll dig out the old surveys and if anything report back.

    Great lot of churches you've detailed. Well done.

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