No. 667 - Margate - St Joseph's the Holy Saviour Catholic Church (1930-1989)

Margate is a coastal town on the Channel Highway approximately 7 kilometres south of Kingston. The original settlement was closer to the sea however the modern commuter town is now centred along the highway where the town’s churches are located.

For many years Catholic Mass was conducted in Margate’s public hall. Once a fortnight members of the congregation would carry “the necessary paraphernalia from their homes to erect the altar”. In 1920 the gift of land by Miss Mary Ann Clare initiated a period of concerted fundraising by a “committee of ladies” to build a church. By the close of the decade work on building the church began.

St Joseph’s was formally opened 25th May by Archbishop William Hayden. The newly appointed Archbishop had arrived in Tasmania earlier that month and the opening of the church was his first public function in Tasmania. 
The Mercury carried a detailed report of the church’s opening:

“On a commanding site adjacent to the Main Road running through the township, the Catholic community of Margate have had constructed a church eminently suited to the needs of the district. The building of the church was was put in hand only a few months ago and at a special service yesterday the Archbishop of Hobart (Most Rev. W. Hayden) opened and blessed the church in the presence of a large congregation….Archbishop Hayden was accompanied from Hobart by the Ven. Archpriest B. Murphy and the Rev. P. Kent, and they were met at the church by the parish priest (the Rev. J. Mimnagh). The Archbishop blessed the church, and afterwards Mass was said by the Rev. J.Mimnagh”.

The Mercury’s report concluded with a succinct description of the church:

“The church is a solid brick structure built on rock with brick and concrete foundation. The chapel itself is roomy with a high ceiling. Its principal dimensions are 30ft. long and 25ft. wide. Attached to it under the one roof are sacristy and porch. The interior is artistic. The walls are of brick, and the ceiling of duroid with stained laths. The altar made a pretty picture in the sun which shone through a stained-glass window at the northern end of the chapel directly onto the altar. Appropriate decoration adorns the walls. The woodwork in the porch is of Tasmanian oak”.

The church was used for just over 50 years before it closed due to a decline in the numbers of the congregation. St Joseph’s was closed and sold in 1989 and the building was converted into a house in the early 1990’s.

The church at the the time of its opening in 1930 - source: Libraries Tasmania PH30-1-3839

The former church is now a house - Google Street View image


Sources:

Mercury, Wednesday 10 November 1920, page 6
Mercury, Monday 26 May 1930, page 3


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