No. 607 - Fitzgerald - St Canice Catholic Church

Fitzgerald is a small settlement on the Gordon River Road situated about a kilometre from the larger town of Maydena. Fitzgerald is the older of the two settlements and it owes its existence to the extension of the Tyenna railway line in 1917 a further 6 miles from National Park to the Fitzgerald terminus. Fitzgerald was originally known as Maydena until the railway station was built and then renamed in honour of George Parker FitzGerald, a well known businessman, politician and an advocate of the southern railways.

An Anglican church was built at Fitzgerald in 1923 which burnt down in 1934. [See No. 595]. This church was replaced in 1935 and a year later it was joined by a Catholic Church Hall, St Canice. While the building was established as a place of worship it was designed as hall in order to better serve the needs of the Fitzgerald community.

The Hobart Mercury carried a short report on the opening of the hall in April 1936:

“The new Roman Catholic Church hall at Fitzgerald was blessed and declared open yesterday by the Rev. J. H. Cullen in the absence of the Archbishop of Hobart (the Most Rev. Dr. W. Hayden). There was a large attendance, and among the clergy present were the. Revs. P. Adlum (New Norfolk), G. M. Fitzgerald (Invermay), and Kennedy (Hobart)…..In his address after the ceremony of blessing, Father Cullen congratulated the parishioners on the faith which had inspired the building of the hall….The new church building would stand as a symbol of faith, and a desire to cooperate in the working of the Divine plan of life. The building, which is of weatherboard, cost £518, and was built by Mr. B. Briers of Moonah. The architect was Mr. G, R. Robinson. A collection yielded £33, and the debt remaining on the hall is £275”.

With such a large debt on the building it is not surprising that most newspaper reports about the church through the 1940’s and early 1950’s concern fundraising for the ‘church hall funds’. There is little available information about the church after the 1950’s.


St Canice closed in 2008 and the building was sold in the following year. The property was later converted into a house.

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 church in 2019. Photo: Duncan Grant

The church in 2019. Photo: Duncan Grant

The church in 2019. Photo: Duncan Grant

Real Estate Photograph (2008 and 2017).  Courtesy of  4one4 Real Estate - Glenorchy

The church in 1936 (The Mercury)

Map showing the location of Fitzgerald in Southern Tasmania. Source: placenames.gov.tas.au

Sources:

Mercury, Monday 27 April 1936, page 11
The Mercury, Monday 29 June 1936, page 5

Southerwood, W. T Planting a faith in Tasmania : the country parishes. [W. T. Southerwood], [Hobart], 1977.










Comments

  1. Hi duncan I asked the catholic archives office re closure of above and the archivist said closed 2008 and sold 2010 so???? Cheers michelle browning

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