No. 556 - Strickland - St Paul's Anglican Church - "A Stupendous Effort"

Strickland is a small isolated settlement in the hills above the River Dee, approximately 15 kilometres northwest of Ouse and the Lyell Highway. It was previously known as Saggy Flats before it was renamed after Sir Gerald Strickland, Governor of Tasmania (1904-9).

St Paul’s Anglican church was built in 1910 by Mr Alexander Fyle. It was consecrated in March 1911 however no published report of the ceremony or description of the church seems to have survived.  A photograph published in the Tasmanian Mail shows a small timber building capable of accomodating about 60 people.

In October 1926 the church was destroyed in a fire as reported in the Mercury:

“St. Paul's Church of England at StrickIand, near Ouse, was completely destroyed by fire on Saturday. Members of a working bee were engaged on the ground surrounding the church, clearing it of debris to remove the risk of fire from the building. A pile of rubbish was made about ten yards from the church, and a match put to it. After some time it was noticed that smoke was issuing from a section of the spouting of the church, and by the time a ladder had been obtained from some distance, the flames had a strong hold upon the shingle roof. The flames soon got out of control, and the whole wooden structure burned fiercely to cinders. A stupendous effort was made at considerable risk to get the organ out of the building, and this was the only thing saved. The damage is estimated at between £300 and £350. The building was insured for £200”.

Following the fire religious services were held in the Strickland State school. However, the community rallied to replace the church and an iron structure was built in 1928 and dedicated in the following year. The Mercury provides a record of the occasion:

“Just over two years ago St. Paul's Church of England at Strickland, a small settlement in the Hamilton municipality, was destroyed by fire, and for some time it was thought that owing to the difficulty of raising the necessary funds in the scattered community it would not be possible to rebuild the church. A move was started, however, and the response from all sides was most generous, with the result that a now building has been erected at a cost of £374”.

“Bishop Hay visited Strickland yesterday and conducted the service of dedication, assisted by the rector of the Hamilton parish (Rev. W. P. Henslow) and Rev. A. E. Hutchinson, of Bothwell. The church was built by Mr. G. Cooper, of Ellendale, to a design prepared by Mr. Henslow, and at the beginning of the service yesterday there was only £11 owing on the building. There was a rather large congregation, and when the offertory was taken up it was found that there was sufficient to clear the debt. The church has been effectively fitted up, and all the furnishings, including the seating accommodation, were donated by residents of the district. The Bishop congratulated tho parishioners on their perseverance in erecting the church, and complimented them on the wonderful response they had made….”.

The new St Paul’s served the Strickland district for another 40 years before it was closed and later sold due to a decline in the local population. It is now at 'Camp Woodfield', a former Church of Christ campground near Bagdad. [see photograph below]



The second 'iron' church built at Strickland.  Undated photograph - Source: Libraries Tasmania PH30-1-4786-1

The original church - Source: Tasmanian Mail 1911

Undated photograph - source unknown
St Paul's is now located at Camp Woodfield near Bagdad in Southern Tasmania.

Maps showing the location of the Strickland District - source: placenames.gov.tas.au

Sources:

Daily Post, Thursday 21 July 1910, page 2
Daily Post, Wednesday 29 July 1910, 8
The Examiner, Saturday 8 October 1910, page 9
The Mercury, Saturday 13 May 1911, page 3
The Mercury, Wednesday 6 October 1926, page 2
Advocate, Thursday 7 October 1926, page 5
The Mercury, Thursday 31 May 1928, page 5
Mercury, Friday 10 May 1929, page 10

Henslowe, Dorothea I and Hurburgh, Isa Our heritage of Anglican churches in Tasmania. Mercury-Walch, Moonah, Tas, 1978.





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