No. 652 - Wynyard - St Stephen's Anglican Church (1873-1919)

Wynyard is a town on the northwest coast approximately 20 kilometres west of Burnie. The area around Wynyard was originally named Table Cape by Bass and Flinders. However this was changed to Wynyard in the 1850s, named after Edward Buckley Wynyard, who was a Lieutenant-General in the New South Wales Corps. Until the 20th century Wynyard remained a small town with a population of less than 500.

The focus of this article is on Wynyard’s first two Anglican churches. The first small church was built in the mid 1850s and this was replaced by a larger building in 1873. Wynyard’s third Anglican church, which opened in 1920, will be the subject of a further article.

The first minister of the Church of England to visit Wynyard was the Rev. C. Wilkinson who conducted services at Gibbon and Hill’s Mill, a former Table Cape landmark (located near the former Spencer Hospital). About five years after the first service a small wooden church was built in the old cemetery grounds (located on Jackson Street) which opened in 1854 or 1855.

As the settlement at Wynyard grew the congregation of the church more than doubled and in 1870 it was decided to construct a larger church. Land adjoining the old police building was granted by the Government as a site for the second church.

Planning for the new church began in 1871 and in March of that year the Cornwall Chronicle reported:

“Mr J. R. Frith, of the Public Works Department, River Leven, voluntarily promised to draw a design of a church, and present it to the church committee as his contribution in aid of the church building fund. The plans and specifications having been submitted for inspection, several alterations were suggested by the committee. Mr Frith was at once communicated with, and, when the necessary alterations were made by Mr Frith, he returned the plans with a promptitude that won for him golden opinions from all those interested in the erection of a church here. According to the design that has met with the approval of the committee, the body of the church will be 20 x40, the chancel 12 x 9, and will, when finished, seat nearly 200 persons”.

Known as St. Stephen’s, the new church was a solid wooden structure and possessed a spire and stained glass windows. The church was built by Mr. James Byrne, “the contract for which was between £70 and £80” with the total cost amounting to “approximately £233”.

St. Stephen's was opened on Christmas Day 1873 with the occasion reported in the Cornwall Chronicle and The Tasmanian:

“On Christmas Day the new church at Wynyard was duly opened at 11 o’clock by the Rev. R. Smith, officiating clergy man of this district, and who on this occasion, conducted the morning service set apart for the Church of England….The sermon was plain and simple, and referred to the building of the first temple and its destruction, and the building of the second and its greater permanence. He (Mr Smith) compared the design of the architect with the design of the Great Architect of the universe, showing that design was necessary and apparent in everything…..The inside of the church was beautifully decorated with many varieties of flora and evergreens, artistically got up bouquets being fastened to both ends of each seat. Across the chancel and just in front of it, was a very pretty floral emblem with the words in large capitals, 'Glory to God.' The collection at the termination of the service amounted to something over £10…”.

St Stephen’s was to serve the Anglicans of Wynyard for close to forty years when it too was replaced by a brick church which opened in 1920. St Stephen’s was dismantled and was taken to Natone, south east of Burnie, where it became St Michael’s Anglican church. Wynyard’s first Anglican church was sold to the Salvation Army for use as a hall. When the Salvation Army built a new hall it was sold again and moved to Hogg street where it was converted it into a cottage.

Cover photo - see details in the pohto below
Undated photograph of St Stephen's Wynyard - source: Libraries Tasmania PH30-1-7306
The interior of of St Stephen's (undated). Source: Libraries Tasmania PH30/1/7327

St Stephen's alongside the former Wynyard Town Hall. Source: Libraries Tasmania PH30/1/7313

An early postcard of Wynyard where the church can be seen on the extreme left edge of the photograph. Source: Libraries Tasmania LPIC147-7-213

The original church was relocated to Hogg Street and converted into a cottage - source: The Advocate October 1954


Cornwall Chronicle, Friday 17 March 1871, page 2
Tasmanian, Saturday 18 March 1871, page 13 
Cornwall Chronicle, Friday 2 January 1874, page 3
Tasmanian, Saturday 3 January 1874, page 4
Advocate, Saturday 9 October 1954, page 13
Advocate, Monday 11 October 1954, page 6
Advocate, Thursday 24 July 1919, page 2

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


  1. Curious to know if you have any more info on Gibbon and Hill’s Mill that the article mentions?. wondering where you sourced this info from as it is the first i have heard of it but will go and if i can find some......thanks i enjoy your posts thanks....

  2. found it thanks.....


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