No. 601 - Evandale - Harland Rise Chapel

Harland Rise is an old Northern Midland property located between White Hills and Evandale. The estate was acquired by John Ward Gleadow in the early 1830’s. The homestead at Harland Rise dates back to the late 1850’s but the oldest building on the property is a small private Wesleyan chapel. Religious services may have taken place at Harland Rise before a Wesleyan chapel was built at Evandale (then known as Morven) in 1836.

John Gleadow (1801-1881) is best known for his contribution to the legal profession but was also a successful businessman and politician. As a leading member of Launceston society Gleadow was active in the church and a committed philanthropist.

Gleadow arrived in Hobart in 1825 and in the following year was admitted as barrister and solicitor in the Supreme Court of Van Diemen's Land. He then moved to Launceston to become the town’s first legal practitioner. For over forty years Gleadow did much to set the traditions and tone of Launceston’s legal profession. He purchased land in northern Tasmania and was a successful farmer supporting horticultural and agricultural societies and helped to found the Cornwall Turf Club. He was a director of many companies, including the Cornwall Bank. In politics Gleadow became an ardent advocate of the anti-transportation movement. At the first elections for the Legislative Council he was returned unopposed. In 1866 he was elected to the House of Assembly for Morven but resigned after serious injury following a fall from a horse in 1868.

Gleadow joined the Wesleyan Church in 1834 and soon became secretary and superintendent of its Sunday school. He was also treasurer of its Missionary Society, an active supporter of the Cornwall Auxiliary Bible Society, a founder of the Town Mission and a member of the Launceston Benevolent Society. He served on the Infant School Board in 1834, helped to build a chapel and school room at Morven (Evandale) and joined the management committee of St John's Hospital.

At Harland Rise, Gleadow’s country estate, his commitment to his Wesleyan faith is reflected in the building of a chapel on the property. As a private chapel little is know about how and when it was used and there is no mention of it in the local press until the early 1860’s. In 1862 a ‘Sabbath school’ was established and for about a decade there are reports of the school’s activities. Periodic church services were also held during this time. A report of the Sabbath School’s fifth anniversary was published in the Examiner in November 1867 and this report provides a snapshot of the schools activities and also the influence wielded by Gleadow amongst the Launceston’s Wesleyan elite.

“On Sunday last sermons were preached at Harland Rise, in connection with the fifth anniversary of the above school and on Tuesday the annual tea meeting and children’s treat ware held at the same place. On the morning of the last named day many of the friends from Launceston proceeded to Harland Rise in order to take part in the festivities and at noon were entertained at luncheon by J. W. Gleadow, Esq., on whose estate the school situate. In the afternoon, after engaging in the games usual on such occasions, the scholars assembled beneath a tree, when the Rev. Spencer Williams addressed them, and handed to them the prizes gained for the past year. John Crookes, Esq., also addressed them in a very affectionate and eloquent manner, after which children and friends, to the number of about 200, sat down to tea, which had been provided in great abundance and of excellent quality by the friends at Harland Rise. Tea having been heartily discussed, a public meeting was held in the same room, presided over by the Rev. S. Williams. After a few introductory remarks from the chairman, the report of the school for the past year was read, from which it appeared that on the books there are 4 male and 3 female teachers and one female monitor, 20 boys, and 21 girls….Addresses were then delivered on various interesting subjects bearing on Sunday school work, by the ministers and friends present. A vote of thanks from the visitors for the entertainment they had received at the hands of the friends at Harland Rise, concluded the proceedings, and the meeting closed with the doxology. The whole affair passed off in a very pleasant manner, with the exception of a slight mishap which occurred on the return home of one of the parties to town - Mr. W. Hart -whose vehicle was run into by a waggon, which carried no light, and the driver of which was evidently either asleep or drunk, and was on the wrong side of the road. Fortunately no person was injured, but the pole-bar of Mr. Hart's carriage was broken, and caused considerable delay”.

A year after this report Gleadow suffered serious injury near his house in Launceston which was to lead to his withdrawal from public life. In September 1868 the Hobart Mercury reported:

“It is with feelings of extreme regret that we have to record a very serious accident which occurred to J. W. Gleadow, Esq., M. H. A., at. about two o'clock on Monday afternoon. It appears that Mr. Gleadow was leaving his residence in a buggy for the purpose of visiting Talisker. He was driving himself, and was accompanied by his son, Mr. Henry Gleadow. They started from the back entrance to the premises, and coming down the lane leading into St. John street, the horse started, and turning the corner at full swing, capsized the vehicle, throwing out both occupants. Mr. Gleadow, senr., was thrown with great violence against the kerbing in front of Weedon's shop, sustaining a severe wound over the right temple besides other very serious injuries”.

Gleadow never fully recovered from his injuries. He relinquished his involvement with Harland Rise and reports of the Sabbath school cease after 1872. Gleadow died at Launceston on 25 August 1881, four days after the death of his wife. Gleadow’s property at Harland Rise was sold to Henry Smith in November 1882 by which time services at the chapel had long ceased.

For over a century the extensive outbuildings at Harland Rise were well maintained although the chapel was used as a barn and livestock shelter. After the property was acquired by new owners in 2013 the chapel was restored in preparation for its new role as bed and breakfast accomodation. The photograph used for this article was taken in 2013 before restoration work was begun.

The Harland Rise Chapel before its restoration - (2013) Photo courtesy of Ruralco Property - Tasmania

John Ward Gleadow (photo J.W. Beattie) Allport Library (State Library of Tasmania)

Harland Rise House - courtesy of Ruralco Property - Tasmania (2013)

The location of the Chapel at Harland Rise


Launceston Examiner, Saturday 24 November 1866, page 3
Launceston Examiner, Monday 21 January 1867, page 2
Launceston Examiner, Thursday 28 November 1867, page 5
Launceston Examiner, Tuesday 24 December 1867, page 3
The Mercury, Wednesday 16 September 1868,  page 2 
Cornwall Advertiser, Tuesday 17 January 1871, page 2
Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899), Friday 26 August 1881, page 2
The Mercury, Tuesday 28 November 1882, page 2

Tasmanian Country, 16 November 2018, Harland Rise: New chapter in farm’s proud history (Karolin MacGregor)


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