No. 605 - Dublin Town Methodist Church - "A Surprise Party"

Dublin Town was a small settlement approximately 8 kilometres north of St Marys on the northern side of the Nicholas Range. Dublin Town, like nearby German Town and Irish Town were small settlements in the St Marys district opened up by migrants in the latter half of the 19th century. The origin of the name ‘Dublin Town’ is not known.

One of the first settlers in the area was William Lohrey who came to Tasmania from Germany in 1855. Willam and his four brothers all settled in the St Marys district:

“…Wishing to establish a home of his own, [William] set out to look for some suitable holding in the wilds and forests. After exploring the country he decided that a selection of good land could be taken up in the locality now known as Dublin Town, ….At first he lived in a small bush hut, but in after years contributed in no small measure, to the agricultural progress of the district”.

Another Dublin Town 'pioneer' was John Speers who migrated from 'Castledawson', Ireland, in the late 1860's and took up a selection of Crown land, establishing a farm known as 'Derry Lodge'. Perhaps it was Speers who gave the hamlet its name.


Little known about Dublin Town and most newspaper reports about the settlement concern the state of the roads. Dublin Town had neither a school or a post office but it did have a small Wesleyan Methodist church. No image of the church survives but there is a fairly detailed account of it in a report in the Launceston Examiner describing the opening service on 14 February 1900:

“The little hamlet of Dublin Town was en fete on the 14th inst., when the community celebrated the opening of a new Wesleyan Methodist Church. At 3 p.m. Rev. J. R. Bradbury, of Longford, preached a special sermon.… At 7.30 p.m. a special meeting was held in the church, under the presidency of Mr. S. Ditcham. Rev. S. J. Sullings reported that the building constructed by Messrs. Thomas and Waugh is a well-finished weatherboard structure 20ft. by 14ft. It has a stone foundation and iron roof, and has [a] porch attached. The interior of the building is lined with pine throughout. The cost of the building was £90, of which £88 had actually been raised, and there was a probability of the balance being raised within a month. Addresses appropriate to the occasion were then delivered by Revs. J. R. Bradbury, S. J. Sullings, and Mr. Chas. Rawlings. In the interval of services tea was provided by Mesdames P. Lohrey and F. Wright and the Misses Speers and Lohrey, and partaken of in the open air". 


"The opening celebrations were continued on Sunday last in a special service conducted by the circuit minister. A congregation that crowded the church assembled on each occasion, and Miss F. Lohrey ably presided at the organ. An enthusiastic comprehensive vote of thanks was presented at Wednesday's meeting to the donors or the building fund near and far, to the chairman, to Mr. W. M Hugo for the reading desk, to Messrs. W. Lohrey, J. Speers, and P. Lohrey for valuable assistance, and to Rev. S. J. Sullings, who had initiated and successfully carried through the scheme for the erection of the church”.

There are few subsequent references to the church in the local press. In 1907 there is a report of Reverend Youlton’s last service at Dublin Town and in February 1912 there is a passing reference to the church in a report which I have included here simply because of its entertainment value!

“A surprise party was given to Mr. W. Lohrey at Dublin Town on Monday night. The party included visitors from St. Mary’s, German Town, and Cornwall. The St. Mary's party consisted of Mesdames Dawson, M’Haig, and Buttsworth, Miss Rowntree. Messrs. Dawson, M’Haig, Clark, E. and A. Doyle, and Dean.[sic] They met the German Town and Cornwall contingent at Dublin Town church, and proceeded to Mr. Lohrey's residence and took the family by surprise. An enjoyable time was spent in parlour games, dancing, singing, and music, including Mr. Lohrey's pathephone. Songs were given by Messrs. Clarke, Lucas, and Dawson; Mr. Lucas also recited. An excellent supper was provided by the ladies. The night being very dark and foggy trouble was experienced on the way home. Mr. Lucas, on his cycle, ran over a calf and received a severe shaking. Mr. E. R. Dawson walked over the side of the cutting and sat down in a clump of prickly bushes; and Mr. Clarke fell on his chest. Luckily no bones were broken, and the two were soon hauled out”.

In the following year there is another report of surprise birthday party thrown for William Lohrey. This time there is no mention of the church but the sequel to the first birthday party cannot go untold:

“A very pleasant evening was spent on Tuesday, 9th, says a correspondent, at the residence of Mr. W. Lohrey, Dublin Town, in the form of a surprise party. Between 8 and 9 o'clock numerous friends began to arrive in traploads….During the evening songs, games, and recitations were indulged in..… An excellent supper, provided by the ladies, brought the evening's amusement to a close. When the party was about to leave for home, much to their inconvenience, they found Mr. Ern. Doyle's trap missing. After a search of some considerable time with lanterns the trap was found in a neighbour's field. Finally the horses were yoked, and an attempt was made to climb the hill. When nearing the summit one of the drivers (Mr. R. Targett), who had a four-in-hand, decided to give his team a rest, when one of the animals became restless, and commenced to kick, throwing itself down and causing some alarm among the party. Further on they came to two huge trees across the road. Mr. Allan Lohrey had to run to the nearest settlement for an axe. Owing to the good axemanship of Mr. Laurence Lohrey, and the strength of the party, the obstacle was soon removed, after which no further hindrance was encountered, and the party reached home at St. Mary’s somewhat excited, but none the worse for the adventure”.

There are no further reports of surprise parties for William Lohrey and very few reports of the Dublin Town church. The last reference to the church is of a harvest festival held in 1925. I have found no mention of the church’s closure or the fate of the building which probably would have been removed. Nothing now remains of the Dublin Town hamlet. While the historical record for the Dublin Town Methodist church is very thin, the story of this small church provides a frame for this almost forgotten community.


Mr Speers farm at Dublin Town. The church may be one of the buildings in the centre right of the photograph. Weekly Courier July 1908

The first settlers at Dublin Town. Mr John Speers (left) and Mr William Lohrey (right) Weekly Courier July 1908

Mr Lohrey's homestead. Weekly Courier July 1908

General views of Mr Lohrey's farm. Weekly Courier July 1908

View of a farm and The 'Sister Rock'. Weekly Courier July 1908

Homestead of Mr John Speer. Weekly Courier July 1908

'Mr William Lohrey with his sons and daughters'  (Lohrey's wife died two years years previously). Weekly Courier July 1908

Map showing the location of Dublin Town near St Marys. Source: Placenames.gov.tas.au

Sources:

Examiner, Thursday 22 February 1900, page 3
Mercury, Friday 30 March 1900, page 3
Examiner,  Saturday 2 March 1912,  page 5
Examiner, Wednesday 14 May 1913, page 5 
Advocate,  Thursday 17 April, 1924  page 2 
Examiner, Friday 13 March 1925, page 8
Mercury, Tuesday 13 September 1927, page 11


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