No. 685 - Tyenna - Methodist Church

Tyenna is a settlement on the Tyenna River in the Upper Derwent region and is situated approximately 80 kilometres west of Hobart. Only a remnant of a once thriving rural community remains. Tyenna was officially gazetted as a town in 1918 after timber workers built sawmills in the area. Before the establishment of the towns of Fitzgerald and Maydena, Tyenna was a supply base for Adamsfield’s osmiridium miners. Bushfires have have destroyed much of old Tyenna over the years.

Two religious denominations were established at Tyenna. The Anglican’s used the settlement’s public hall after a sanctuary was built in 1921 to allow for religious services. Methodist’s were active in the valley from the turn of the 20th century. In a letter to the Mercury in 1921, prominent Methodist Vincent Shoobridge outlined the early activities of the church:

“For the past 20 years the Methodist Church has conducted Sunday schools and church services at Westerway, National Park, Tyenna, and Maydena, now called Fitzgerald. For the past two years a Methodist home missionary (Mr L. Stephens) has spent a considerable part of his time visiting the homes all along the valley, and leading the people in the worship of God on Sundays. He is well known and beloved by very many of all denominations. Although no church buildings have yet been erected in the valley, a church is in course of erection at Fentonbury. It was burnt down a few years ago. Land has been purchased for a church site at Westerway. The population is increasing owing to the timber business prospering, and…. the Methodist Church has been doing pioneering work for so long…”.

Within the space of two years a church was built at Tyenna; opening in May 1923. Land for the church was donated by Mr Elias Marriott. The Mercury reported:

“The opening ceremony in connection with the new church at Tyenna took place on Saturday afternoon, when a service of dedication was conducted by the Rev. A Sussex (secretary of the Tasmanian Assembly), in the absence of the Rev W Corly Butler, assisted by other visiting ministers. The building is a structure of Tasmanian hardwood, with Gothic windows, and is lined throughout with V-jointed hardwood. The pulpit, reading desk, and seats are of the same material, giving the interior a pleasing and harmonious effect. The energetic missionary, Mr W. T. Baker, is mainly responsible for the provision of the church, and some idea of his popularity with all classes in the district may be gathered from the fact that he has received in donations during the past two months between £200 and £300, making it possible to open the church free of debt….”.

Max Stansall, author of “Tasmanian Methodism”, notes that services at the church ceased in 1940. However in 1947 services were recommenced and a Sunday school was established by Reverend John Fullarton. In 1965 the old Fenton Forest (Fentonbury) Methodist church (which had opened in 1923), was moved to Tyenna to be used as a hall. In 1973 services ceased permanently and at some stage after this both the church and hall were removed. I have yet to establish where the buildings were taken or if they still exist.

The Tyenna church can seen in the background of a photograph taken in the late 1950’s. This is the only image of the church known to exist. The church was located alongside the Tyenna cemetery which is still maintained.

Additional information and especially photographs of this church, as well as churches at Westerway and National Park are are most welcome. All articles will be updated. I can be contacted through this page or my Facebook page "Churches of Tasmania" which is linked here: <Churches of Tasmania>


The Tyenna Methodist Church - A cropped image of the only known photograph of the church.  With thanks to Scott Smith (personal collection)

A Google Street view image of the Tyenna Cemetery - which was alongside the site of the church.


Sources:

Mercury, Tuesday 25 January 1921, page 7
Mercury, Monday 28 May 1923, page 3
Mercury, Tuesday 17 October 1950, page 20

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.

Comments

  1. they need to build a church at westerway

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi duncan the church was auctioned off on Tuesday 22nd november 1977as per derwent valley gazette Nov 03 1977page 7. The church being described as w. B. Church building with hall attached. Approx 11squares in all. Land 18/19m x 18/22m (61/65ftx62/74ft) 15.7perches approx.
    There is a photo attached ith the l. J. Hooker realestate ad. Unfortunately very dark. Michelle browning

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Michelle, thank you for passing this on. I will make a note of this and see if I can track down an original copy. I am still on the hunt for a photo of the Westerway Methodist/Anglican church. There must be one out there. Regards, Duncan

    ReplyDelete
  4. I will send a copy of above info to Scott on Monday and ask to send to you as I don't use Facebook and u can see photo attached to realestate auction in the
    Newspaper article. Keep up the interesting history research. Michelle browning

    ReplyDelete

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