No. 565 - Beulah - St Matthew's Anglican Church - "A Family House"

Beulah is a small settlement in the foothills of Mount Roland approximately 15 kilometres southeast of Sheffield. The name Beulah is taken from the Bible and means ‘my heaven and my home forever more’.

Beulah has had two Anglican churches, the first was built in 1904 and the second was a former Baptist church purchased in 1944. Both churches were dedicated to St Matthew. The establishment of Beulah’s first Anglican church was over ten years in the making. In June 1891 the Examiner reported that when the Bishop of Tasmania was touring the Sheffield district he visited Beulah where “he was met by a large number of residents, the male members of whom were soon hard at work clearing a a bit of primeval forest for a church at some future date”.

That “future date” had to wait until 1904. In the interim the small Anglican community had made use of Beulah’s public hall for Sunday worship. In September 1904 the Launceston Examiner reported on the opening and dedication of Beulah’s new Anglican church by Bishop Mercer:

“On Tuesday afternoon this settlement was en fete, the occasion being the dedication, by the Lord Bishop of Tasmania, of the new Anglican Church. The building is a substantial weatherboard-structure, 40 x 25 feet, and is at present not quite completed. The contract for painting the outside has been let, and the building will be lined as soon as sufficient funds are available. The site on which it is built is splendidly situated, being a gentle rising slope, adjoining the state school, and was generously given by Mr. W. J. Richardson. The building committee Messrs. J. Walker, W. Moore, H. Hardy, S. F. Oliver, Jas. M'Carthy, and Rev. H. C. Brammall, are deserving of great credit for the way they have worked in the face of many difficulties in getting the building erected. The attendance at the ceremony was very good, considering that the day was cold and windy. One of Butler’s four-in-hand drags had to be procured to convey the visitors from Sheffield, and others attended from Shadyside, Railton, and other places. His Lordship was assisted by the rector, Rev. H. C. Banmmall, Rev. Brammall (Hagley), Rev. W. Hogg (Latrobe), and Rev. E. C. Spink (St. Leonards), a former rector of the parish, and whom the residents were exceedingly pleased to see after an absence of eight years. After hymns and the form of evening prayer had been gone through, Dr. Mercer delivered a short and impressive address, explaining the difference between consecration and dedication, and exhorted the congregation to consider the church a family house, and to spare no pains to make it worthy of the use for which it was built. He then dedicated the building, and named it after the Apostle St. Matthew. After the service a successful tea took place in the Beulah Hall, at which a large number sat down, and ample justice was done to the good things provided….”.

The small weatherboard church served the community for 40 years. In 1944 the Anglican’s purchased Beulah’s Baptist church. The reason for this decision is not known as there are no reports of any problems regarding the old church’s size or condition. In April 1944 the Advocate reported that “sixteen workers turned up to a working bee at the Baptist Church…to clean the grounds, move articles from the Church of England, and make alterations…”. The seats, organ and pulpit of the Baptist church were removed and taken to the Baptist church at nearby Paradise. The first service in the ‘new’ church took place on Sunday 16 April 1944 but another five years were to pass before it was dedicated to St Matthew for the second time.

The last service at St Matthew’s was held in January 1999. The building was later sold and removed to Lenna at Forth. The fate of the earlier church is not known.


The second  St Matthew's Anglican Church at Beulah.  Photograph courtesy of the Anglican Diocese of Tasmania

Beulah's location in Northern Tasmania - source: placenames.gov.tas.au

Sources:

Launceston Examiner, Saturday 20 June 1891, page 2
Examiner, Friday 23 September 1904, page 3
North Western Advocate and the Emu Bay Times, Monday 26 September 1904, page 2
Examiner, Wednesday 28 September 1904, page 3
Daily Telegraph, Friday 17 November 1922, page 8
Advocate, Tuesday 18 April 1944, page 4
Advocate, Friday 21 April 1944, page 4
Advocate, Wednesday 22 June 1949, page 10

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

Stephens, Geoffrey and Anglican Church of Australia. Diocese of Tasmania, (issuing body.) The Anglican Church in Tasmania : a Diocesan history to mark the sesquicentenary, 1992. Trustees of the Diocese, Hobart, 1991.










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