No. 666 - Ridgley - Holy Trinity Anglican Church

Ridgley lies approximately 15 kilometres south of the city of Burnie and in recent years the settlement has effectively become a commuter suburb. Ridgley was originally a small farming centre established in the 1880’s by the Van Diemen's Land Company. The town has been well served by a number of religious denominations including Anglican, Methodist and Catholic.

Ridgley has had two Anglican churches, the first lasting only 10 years (1916-1926) while the second church, which replaced it, closed in 1998. Anglican services were initially held in the Ridgley Hall from January 1916 and it did not take long before parishioners sought to acquire a church of their own. On the anniversary of the first service in January 1917 the North Western Advocate reviewed the progress which had been made:

“Just a year ago services in connection with the Church of England were commenced at the Ridgley Hall, and were continued for some time. The parishioners, however, decided to provide a church, and a committee, consisting of Messrs. R. Hilder, Matthews; Saltmarsh and Langmaid, were appointed to make arrangements for the erection of the building. An allotment of land was secured from the V.D.L. Co., and and a building was purchased in Zeehan and renovated and fitted as a church. Mr Frank Deacon and a number of willing helpers completed its erection, and great credit is due to all connected with the work for their energetic efforts. About £40 is yet required to clear the debt on the building,….”.

According to Wilfred Winter in ‘The story of Ridgley’, the first church was an old engine-shed which was erected behind the public hall. Although it served the purpose of providing a venue for services, the building was not really suitable for permanent use. Thus by 1926 the search was on for a larger and more appropriate building. In mid 1926 a suitable building was found. In October 1926 the Daily Telegraph reported that a Presbyterian at Waratah had been purchased by the Anglicans and had been removed to Ridgley.

By early December the old Waratah Presbyterian church had been refurbished and was ready for the official opening and dedication ceremony held on Sunday 5 December 1926. The Advocate provides a detailed description of this event:

“The consummation of much patient work and expectation on the part the Church of England people at Ridgley was reached yesterday morning, when the interesting ceremony of the solemn dedication of the handsome now church which has been erected on a commanding site in the centre of the township, was performed by His Lordship the Bishop of Tasmania (Right Rev. Snowdon Hay). Unfortunately the heavy rain which fell during the morning prevented the service from having one its most interesting accompaniments, viz. the formal migration of the congregation in procession from the old church to the new sanctuary….On arrival at the church the petition for consecration was formally made by the rector and the churchwardens (Messrs. A. Saltmarsh, W. Haygarth and A. G. Hodgetts), and the Bishop gave his assent that the ceremony might proceed. The church proved too small for the number of worshippers who desired to be present, but as many as could be conveniently crowded into the building were then admitted with the clergy and readers, the Bishop remaining outside the main doors, which were then closed. Knocking three times upon the threshold with his pastoral staff, His Lordship demanded admittance, and after interrogation by the Deacon from within the porch, the doors were flung open and the procession advanced to tho sanctuary… The ceremony of solemn dedication of the building and its furnishings was then proceeded with, the Bishop attended by the rector and his chaplains moving from point to point in the church and performing the various acts of dedication at font, lectern, pulpit chancel and altar….At the close of the dedication ceremony, the Bishop preached an inspiring sermon… the service of the Holy Eucharist was then proceeded with,….The religious ceremony was followed by a very delightful social function in the Ridgley Public Hall, when the congregation, which included visitors from nearly every centre of the parish, sat down to a sumptuous repast which had been prepared by tho ladies of the Ridgley church, assisted by friends of other denominations. About 150 people sat down to dinner, and ample justice was done to the good things so bountifully provided…”.

Holy Trinity Church served the Anglican community of Ridgley for 72 years before the final service was held in November 1998. The building was subsequently sold and is currently used as a business premises.


Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019

Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019

The Presbyterian church at Waratah, moved to Ridgley in 1926 - Photo supplied by Anne Dunham

Sources:

The North western Advocate and Emu Bay Times, Tuesday 18 January 1916, page 2
The North western Advocate and Emu Bay Times, Thursday 7 September 1916, page 2
North Western Advocate and the Emu Bay Times, Wednesday 24 January 1917, page 2
The Daily Telegraph, Friday 8 October 1926, page 8
Advocate, Wednesday 20 October 1926, page 4
Advocate, Saturday 6 November 1926, page 6
Advocate, Wednesday 1 December 1926, page 4
Advocate, Monday 6 December 1926, page 2
The Examiner, Monday 6 December 1926, page 2

Winter, Wilfred Gerrard, The story of Ridgley / by Wilfred Winter  Ridgley Online Access Centre [Ridgley], Tas.  2004

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