No. 721 - New Norfolk - The Salvation Army Hall (1941-2003)

New Norfolk is a large town on the banks of the Derwent River approximately 40 kilometres west of Hobart. It is a historic town mostly settled by Norfolk Islanders soon after its establishment. When Governor Lachlan Macquarie visited the township he named it Elizabeth Town after his wife. However, it was later decided to adopt the name New Norfolk to acknowledge the new settlers.

New Norfolk has been the home of at least 10 religious denominations since the area was settled over two hundred years ago. The Salvation Army had an early presence in New Norfolk and a group from Hobart visited the town as early as 1887. There are few records of the ‘Army’s’ early years in the town although gatherings took place in a building on Montague Street from 1911:

“For many years prior to and during the Great War there was a group of the Salvation Army at New Norfolk, and much good work was done. The expense involved in maintaining the unit evidently proved too great, and the officers were withdrawn about 1920”.

The Corps was reestablished in the town in 1936 and meetings were initially held in the old library hall. When a bequest of £500 was left “for the advancement of the Army work in the Derwent Valley” by the Louis Manton Shoobridge, a longstanding Member of the Legislative Council for Derwent, the building of a new hall became a a reality.

In February 1941 the Huon and Derwent Times reported on the official opening of a New Salvation Hall located on Hackett Street:

“The official opening, of a new hall and officer's quarters on Wednesday night was a red letter day for the New Norfolk Corps. The ceremony, which was performed by Lieutenant-Commissioner W. R. Dalziel, was witnessed by over 100 Salvationists from various parts of the State, and many local people. The Commissioner was handed the key at the entrance, and after a brief ceremony unlocked the door and invited those present to the interior for the dedication, and blessing of the building for public worship. Among those on the platform were: The Warden (Mr H. A. Warner), Council Clerk (Mr W. J. B. Temple), M.r A. Crane ( representing the Church of England) , Rev. H. A. Hunter (Methodist Church), Capt. M. Long (officer in charge of Derwent Valley Corps), his father (MrLong), Mrs Dalziel, Major Walker, Lieut. Clark and many other prominent Salvationists".

"The Warden… said the advancement of the Army here was another sign of progress in the district. He predicted that the new hall would not be large enough for New Norfolk within a few years….The corps was an active one some years ago, but owing to unavoidable circumstances, disbanded. The work has now been resumed with vigour, and was on a solid foundation. He hoped that the people would assist the Army whenever possible”.

“Mrs Dalziel (wife of the Commissioner) congratulated New Norfolk upon the erection of such a fine building. She said that in the early days they had an old building that did not even keep out the weather.… She hoped the best use possible would be made of the new building….The speeches were interspersed by musical items by Hobart Salvation Army band, and Hobart Corps choir. The buildings are of wood, and pleasing design. At the rear, officer's quarters have been provided”.

The predication made at the time of the hall’s opening that it “would not be large enough for New Norfolk within a few years” was eventually proved correct but over half a century was to pass before the Hackett Street Hall was vacated in 2003. The old hall was demolished around 2007. The Salvation Army went on to use the Seventh Day Adventist Church as a place of worship for several years before new facilities were established on Hamilton Road, north of the Derwent River. 


A photograph of the Hall published in the Mercury in 1941 at the time of the building's official opening.


The Hall in the 1990's. Source: Derwent Valley Salvation Army Facebook Page

A Google Streetview image of the Hall in 2007, shortly before its demolition.

The new Salvation Army premises on Hamilton Road - source Derwent Valley Salvation Army Facebook Page

Sources:

Tasmanian News, Thursday 10 November 1887, page 2
Mercury, Wednesday 9 October 1935, page 5
Mercury, Thursday 23 January 1941, page 5
Mercury, Thursday 30 January 1941, page 5
Mercury, Tuesday 4 February 1941, page 5
Huon and Derwent Times, Thursday 6 February 1941, page 4

https://www.facebook.com/newnorfolksalvationarmy/





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