No. 602 - Macquarie Plains - St Augustine's Anglican Church

Macquarie Plains is a small settlement about 20 kilometres west of New Norfolk on the eastern side of the Derwent River. In 1821 it was named Sorell Plains by Governor Lachlan Macquarie (NSW) but this was changed later by Governor Sorell of Van Dieman’s Land (who it had been named after).

The Macquarie River valley is a major hop growing area therefore it is not surprising that St Augustine’s Anglican church is almost surrounded by hop fields. The church lies less than 100 metres from the Derwent River which has flooded the building on five occasions. The last major flood which occurred in 1960 was the most severe when the waters of the Derwent River almost reached the guttering. A small plaque above the doorway of the church marks the peak level reached by the 1960 flood.

While St Augustine’s has had an eventful natural history, little is known about its history. Before it was built services were held in the waiting room of the local railway station. The foundation stone was laid by Bishop Mercer on 20 July 1904 and the building was opened and dedicated in December of that year.

St Augustine’s celebrated its centenary in 2004 but the congregation has since dwindled and the church has now closed. St Augustine’s was listed for sale in 2017 to help meet the Anglican Church’s commitment to the national redress scheme. Given that the church is located on a flood plain and that it has a history of severe flooding it is difficult to imagine that the building would be used as a residence. If it is not sold for use as commercial premises it is possible that the building might be relocated if heritage restrictions are waived.



All photographs below are my own. Please report errors. Additional information and sources are most welcome as all articles are updated. I can be contacted through this page or my Facebook page "Churches of Tasmania" which is linked here: Churches of Tasmania








The many hop kilns in the area dwarf St Augustine's church - Photo: Libraries Tasmania NS 165-1-47


Sources:

The Mercury, Tuesday 26 July 1904, page 6

The Mercury, Wednesday 7 December 1904, page 4

The Tasmanian Anglican, September 1904, "A Tiny Church Big on Faith"

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

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