No. 680 - Ranelagh - Sacred Heart Catholic Church - "What is there in a name?"

Ranelagh is a township situated on the Huon River approximately 2 kilometres north of Huonville. Formerly known as Ranelagh Junction it had previously shared the name ‘Victoria’ with neighbouring Huonville.

Four religious denominations have been represented at Ranelagh including the Methodists, Anglicans and Salvation Army. Ranelagh’s original Sacred Heart Church was built in the early years of the 20th century but little information about its establishment has survived. The earliest direct reference I have unearthed about the church’s founding comes from a report published in the Mercury in November 1900:

“The Roman Catholics held a bazaar in aid of the building fund for their new church at Ranelagh. A steamer was chartered to bring people from Esperance and river ports…..The church is to be commenced immediately, and will be finished shortly after the new year. There will then be five places of worship within a quarter of a mile of one another at Ranelagh, besides another at Huonville”.

The church was completed in late 1901 and was officially opened on Sunday 15 December by the Bishop of Laranda and assisted by Father Patrick Hennessy. An advertisement announcing the church’s opening that was published in the Hobart Mercury, as well as a short article in the same newspaper, refer to the Ranelagh church as “St Patrick’s”. I have found no other reference to the church as St Patrick’s and by the 1920’s it is only referred to as Sacred Heart Catholic church. I have also not found any mention of a change in name but St Patrick’s and Sacred Heart are undoubtedly one and the same church. In Planting a Faith in Tasmania, Terry Southerwood also notes this unresolved problem of the church’s original name.

When Sacred Heart was replaced by a modern church in 2014, the new building was dedicated to St Mary of the Cross. In November 2018 the old church was sold and removed despite some opposition from the Ranelagh community.

The church is now located on a property on Lucaston Road. A video of the church's removal is embedded below. (video courtesy of Mike Raine)

* I have resorted to using Google Street View images of the church as it was removed before I could photograph it.

Google Street view image of Sacred Heart with the new church of St Mary of the Cross in the background.

Google Street view image of Sacred Heart Church

Google Street view image of Sacred Heart Church.

The advertisement from the Mercury referring to the church as St Patrick's

Ranelagh Catholic Cemetery


The Mercury,  Tuesday 13 November 1900, page 3
The Mercury, Wednesday 11 December 1901, page 2
The Mercury, Saturday 14 December 1901, page 4
The Mercury, 16 April 2018
Huon and Derwent Times, Thursday 17 August 1939, page 25

Southerwood, W. T Planting a faith in Tasmania. Southerwood, Hobart, 1970.


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