No. 697 - Royal George - St Paul's Mission Hall

Royal George is a village in northeast Tasmania on the St. Pauls River and lies approximately 15 kilometres southeast of Avoca. The township is named after the Royal George Mine which began operations in 1912 following the discovery of tin in the early 1890’s. Royal George has had only a single church, St Paul’s Anglican Mission Hall.

The origins of the Mission Hall date back to May 1915 when Bishop Reginald Stephen visited Avoca for a confirmation service. It was on this occasion that “Rev. C. Cox (Fingal) introduced the Bishop, and the Rev. J. Taylor (Avoca).… In the course of his remarks he brought under the Bishop's notice the necessity of a room to hold service in at the Royal George”.

Progress was soon made to this end with a fundraising event to establish a place of worship at the settlement. In July 1915 the Daily Post reported:

“A social was held at the Royal George Tin Mine on Wednesday night….the proceeds which amounted to £2, will be donated to a fund to build a room to hold church services, and also to be used as a school which is much needed here”.

By the February 1916 the building had been completed although fundraising was still underway. The Launceston Examiner reported:

“February 19, 1916, will be a red-letter day in the annals of the St. Paul's Valley, as on that date a fair was held in the building to be used for divine service, Sunday school, and day school. The function was highly successful, the handsome sum of £42 being realised. The Rev. F Taylor, in the course of a brief speech, stated that the whole of the erection of the structure was voluntary, and asked Mrs. Cox to open the fair…. A large amount of bunting was hung throughout the building, and the many ferns and greenery interspersed with flowers of every hue, helped to give the interior a gay and bright appearance…”.

In the following year the Bishop, Dr Stephen, visited Royal George to dedicate the Mission Hall in a ceremony that took place on Tuesday 2 October 1917.

As a small and remote community, newspaper reports concerning the Mission Hall are far and few between. With the cessation of mining activity, Royal George’s population experienced a marked decline yet the Mission Hall continued to function until 1988 when it closed and was subsequently sold.

The building still stands at Royal George but I have yet to photograph it and I have used Google ‘street view’ images until I can do so. As always, photographs and further information are always welcome as all articles will be updated over time.

A Google 'street-view' image of the Mission Hall (2010)
A Google 'street-view' image of the Mission Hall (2010)

A Google 'street-view' image of the Mission Hall (2010)

Sources:

Examiner, Wednesday 19 May 1915, page 6
Daily Post, Tuesday 6 July 1915, page 7
Examiner, Thursday 24 February 1916, page 6
Daily Telegraph, Tuesday 9 October 1917, page 6
Examiner, Friday 12 October 1917, page 2



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