No. 619 - Lymington Methodist Church

Lymington is a coastal settlement south of Cygnet in the Huon Valley region. Lymington was the site of a convict probation station established in the 1840’s when the area was known as Copper Alley Bay. By the late 19th century Lymington had developed as an orchard-growing district.

In 1912, a decade after Lymington’s Methodist church had been built, the local correspondent for the Hobart Mercury wrote an article describing this picturesque area:

“One of the prettiest settlements in the Huon district is Lymington, … it is getting its share of attention in the wave of progress and prosperity so noticeable throughout the Huon is easily discerned by the number of now houses, and the even increasing area of land being cleared and planted. The sweep of the well-sheltered bay, with its fringe of native bush, the well kept houses, with their neat gardens and orchards, sloping from the hills at the back to the very water's edge, form a picture that never fails to attract the eye of the visitor; but which we, alas, as residents, have hardly time to pause at in our workaday life,…”.

Lymington may have progressed by the turn of the century but it lacked a public hall and the post office still operated from a private residence. The settlement did however have a public school and two churches; a Methodist church (1901) and an Anglican church built in the 1920’s. The lack of a public hall meant that the church and school were important venues for social gatherings:

“The want of a social hall is greatly felt at Lymington, as is proved by the good attendance at any gathering held at the school or Methodist Church, and if the residents could formulate some scheme by which the building could be erected, there is no doubt it would prove a great boon to tho people, and a financial success”.

Very little is known about the Lymington’s Methodist church. A quarter acre of land was acquired by the Wesleyan Methodist church in 1895 however it was not until the appointment of Reverend W. Beckett to Cygnet in 1900 that any further progress was made. The church was built in February 1901 however there are no reports of the opening services published in the local press. The earliest newspaper reference to the church is a memorial service held in March 1905 for Mr. R. Nathaniel Robert Cross, one of the trustees of the church. Another founder of the church was Mr Frank Stanton, a local orchardist.

After 1910 the Huon Times and the Hobart Mercury published infrequent reports about the church’s activities, most of these being references to the annual harvest festivals, an annual fair, concerts and other fundraising activities. Families associated with church in its early years include: Cross; Batge; Stanton; Norris; Campbell and Orton.

The church has a brief mention in Max Stansall’s book ‘Tasmanian Methodism’, which records that regular services were held until 1958 and thereafter “apparently ceased”. The church was sold in 1961. Given that the church closed over 60 years ago it is surprising that the building is still intact and undisturbed in a paddock off Nichols Road.

Additional information and sources about this church 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 Lymington Methodist Church - Source: Photograph kindly provided by Melissa Bone (copyright)

The Lymington Methodist Church - Source: Photograph kindly provided by Melissa Bone (copyright)

The location of Lymington in Southern Tasmania. (source: placenames.gov.tas.au).  Lymington was originally know as Copper Alley Bay and Lymington South.  When Lymington North was renamed Nile, Lymington South became Lymington.


Sources:

The Mercury, Thursday 14 November 1895, page 3
The Mercury, Thursday 15 November 1900, page 3
The Mercury, Friday 10 March 1905, page 7
The Mercury, Tuesday 17 April 1906, page 7
The Mercury, Tuesday 13 August 1912, page 6
The Mercury, Thursday 25 March 1915, page 6
Huon Times, Tuesday 30 October 1928, page 2
Huon and Derwent Times, Thursday 3 October 1935, page 6

Stansall, M. E. J and Methodist Church of Australasia Tasmanian Methodism, 1820-1975 : compiled at the time of last Meeting of Methodism prior to union. Methodist Church of Australasia, Launceston, Tas, 1975.


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