No. 563 - Campania - St George's Anglican Church

Campania is a rural town on the Colebrook Road approximately 35 kilometres east Hobart. Campania’s origins date back to 1829 when Francis Smith (1787 – 1855) was granted land in the Coal River Valley which became known as the Campania Estate. The farm was purchased by Bassett Dickson of Richmond in 1868. After Dickson’s death, James Brock purchased the Campania Estate from his widow in 1873. In 1882 H.J. Brock, his brother William Brock and several other shareholders registered the Campania Gold Mining Company which ended in failure. A small settlement developed around a railway station built in 1876 on land from the Campania Estate. In 1914 another section of the Estate was divided up as a soldier settlement scheme. The Brock family were to play an important part in the establishment of Campania’s only church, St George’s Anglican church.

A movement for the erection of a Church of England at Campania began in 1887 when Canon Icely made a mission tour of the East Coast settlements. On his visit to the parish of Richmond he was taken to Campania where he called a meeting of residents anxious to erect a church. The first committee meeting was held on June 20 1887 when £25 was promised and a site for a church was offered by Mr Brock. In 1894 the construction of the church was begun.

On November 29, 1894, Bishop Montgomery consecrated St. George’s and was assisted by Reverend H. Hugill, rector of Richmond. The ceremony was reported at length in the Hobart Mercury. A portion of this report provides details of the building as it originally appeared and information about its establishment:

“…The church will have cost £450. The offerings made yesterday amounted to £4 8s. 9d. The total cost of the building amounted to £397. Of this sum £200 and the site, 1 chain x 2 chains, were given by Mr. H. J. Brock, and £50 by Mrs. Brock, while that lady and Mesdames Gates, Hugill, and many others have been the means of gathering a large sum of money between them for the church. All in the district have worked well and given much towards the building, and it redounds to their credit that the church is opened entirely free from debt”.

“Standing as it does somewhat above the Main-road, the church forms a pleasing feature in the landscape. It is of the early English order of architecture, and was designed by Messrs. Norris and Sharland of this city, who were warmly complimented yesterday upon their skill. Mr. F. Williamson, of Hobart, was the builder, and he has faithfully adhered to the plans. The church is built entirely of weatherboard, except the porch and bell-cote, which are half timbered, with stone dashing. This construction is somewhat new to Tasmania, and though rarely employed in country churches of England it is frequently to be met with in the old domestic architecture of ancient towns. The church is painted a salmon colour, the timbers being a dark chocolate and the windows tinted pale green. The doors are grained to represent oak. Each gable is surmounted by a cross, while on the roof, which is a high pitched one, are louvre-boarded gabled ventilators. Inside the church presents a rather attractive appearance. The benches and all the church furniture are of Huon-pine. The furniture consists of the usual two prayer desks, pulpit, lectern, and altar, while a small bracket in a corner serves as a table of protheses and the sanctuary is railed off by a low Huon pine altar rail, supported by pilastres with carved capitals of the same wood. The nave and chancel are plastered, that in the latter being tinted a pale green, and the roof is lined with deal match boarding, while the principals are of Oregon and kauri pines. The dimensions of the church are :-Nave, 42ft. x 22ft ; chancel, 18ft. x 16ft ; organ loft, 12ft. x 8ft.; vestry, 12ft. x 8ft. ; height of roof of nave from floor, 30ft.; height of chancel roof, 20ft. Seating accommodation is provided for 200, but considerably more than that number were present at each of the services held yesterday”.

St George’s is one of many rural churches that have suffered closure in recent years. It was closed and later sold in 2016, prior to the current sell-off of Anglican churches under the National redress scheme. I do wonder if the sale was premature as over the last few years Campania has undergone a transformation with a number of subdivisions turning the old town into a commuter suburb of Hobart, whose population is likely to double over the next few years.

All the photographs of the exterior of the church are my own. Photograph's of the church's interior are by courtesy of Roberts Real Estate (2016)








Courtesy of Roberts Real Estate

Courtesy of Roberts Real Estate

Courtesy of Roberts Real Estate

Courtesy of Roberts Real Estate

Courtesy of Roberts Real Estate

Courtesy of Roberts Real Estate

Courtesy of Roberts Real Estate

Courtesy of Roberts Real Estate

Courtesy of Roberts Real Estate


Sources:

Mercury, Friday 30 November 1894, page 3
Mercury, Saturday 30 May 1914, page 14
Advocate, Wednesday 19 November 1919, page 2
Mercury, Monday 23 June 1941, page 4
Examiner, Monday 27 November 1944, page 4
Mercury, Tuesday 28 November 1944, page 6
Examiner, Monday 4 December 1944, page 4

https://www.southernmidlands.tas.gov.au/towns-villages-areas-campania/

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