No. 689 - Camp Creek Methodist Church (1896-1922)

Camp Creek was the former name of a small settlement in the Yolla district. Yolla grew up around a butter factory which opened in 1906 and is situated approximately 20 kilometres south of Wynyard. Camp Creek Methodist church was located on the road to Mount Hicks, less than a kilometre from present day Yolla. In 1909 a correspondent for the Launceston Examiner described the approach to the church:

“Crossing over the picturesque Camp Creek by an old-fashioned rustic little foot-bridge, beside a rocky fording place, one passes out of the Yolla district into that of Mount Hicks. Immediately over the creek, which here dashes down in a series of pretty miniature waterfalls and cascades, stands the Methodist Chapel, a small unpretentious building but still the only place of worship in the Yolla district. Some additions have been made lately, but one notices that a coat or two of paint would improve the appearance of the chapel and preserve it from the weather at the same time”.

.When the Wesleyan Chapel opened in 1896 a few lines in Launceston’s Daily Telegraph provide the only contemporary account of this occasion:

“The Camp Creek Wesleyan church was opened on May 24 by Mr Pollard. A knife and fork dinner and coffee supper took place at night…. Speeches were given by Mr Brown and Mr Pollard, and several pieces were sung by the choir. Praise is due to the ladies for the energetic way they worked to make the event a success. The chapel is free of debt”.

Little is known about the early years of the chapel. In 1946, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Methodism in the Yolla district, a correspondent for The Advocate provides a few details of the chapel’s establishment:

“With the early settlers was that faith which expressed itself in worship. As they built their homes, there was also the desire to have a "House of God,” a place where they could meet for fellowship and worship. Unfortunately, early records are incomplete, but it is known that the Wesleyans first held service in the home of Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Diprose, at Camp Creek. In those days the superintendent minister lived at Burnie, and a home missionary was stationed at Wynyard to work the western end of what was then called the Emu Bay Circuit. In 1986, during the ministry of Rev. Walter Beckett at Burnie, a church was built at Camp Creek….Mr. A. W. Pollard, home missionary, in charge, conducting the service. The church, which was built of weatherboard palings with a shingle roof, was only a small building, and in 1905, it was decided that the church be lengthened by about 15 feet and that Mr. C. Cunnings be asked to draw up specifications. Until 1922 the Methodist worshipped in the church at Camp Creek, and the elder members still delight to relate the romance of those days”.

In 1906, the opening of the Yolla Butter Factory contributed to the growth of a settlement in its proximity. By the 1920’s the Methodists decided to move the old Camp Creek chapel closer to the centre of the emerging settlement at Yolla. In October 1922, the Advocate reported:


“The Methodist Church, which has been removed from Camp Creek to Yolla, and rebuilt, is now completed. The work has been carried out by a number of willing helpers under the supervision of Mr. Sid Diprose. The finished appearance of the church reflects great credit on all who helped. The re-opening of the church was celebrated on Saturday and Sunday, October 7 and 8. … Mr. Reg. Trebilco, of Smithton, preached morning and evening to crowded congregations, and it was made clear that the decision of the trustees in having the church moved to a more central site met with the approval of the residents, of the district. The amount received from the collections was about £25”.


The photograph of the church used for this article is that of the old chapel at its new site at Yolla. This was probably taken soon after its removal. No photograph of the original church built in 1896 exists but the church in this photograph resembles the Camp Creek church after it was renovated and extended in 1906. The history of the Yolla Methodist and Uniting Church will be the topic of a future article in Churches of Tasmania.

The Camp Creek Methodist Church after its relocation to Yolla in 1922. Source Libraries Tasmania (PH30-1-5368)
A reclad section of the old Camp Creek Church and former Yolla Methodist Church can be seen behind the Yolla Uniting church built in 1967

Sources:

Daily Telegraph, Thursday 11 June 1896, page 4
Examiner, Thursday 25 February 1909, page 8
North Western Advocate and Emu Bay Times,  Saturday 25 November 1905, page 2
Advocate, Thursday 26 October 1922, page 4
Advocate, Wednesday 22 May 1946, page 2

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.

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