No. 723 - Natone - St Michael's Anglican Church

Natone is a small rural community near the junction of the Stowport and Camena Roads, approximately 20 kilometres south of the city of Burnie. The Natone district once had two churches, a Methodist church at Upper Natone and St Michael’s Anglican church at Natone village.

From about 1905 Anglican services were held at the Natone State school. This changed in 1919 following an off-the-cuff remark made during a Sunday service:

“The Rev. W.G. Thomas on Sunday preached there for the first time since his appointment to this parish, and during the service mention was made of the purchase of a wooden church building at Wynyard to enlarge the Burnie Sunday school. Before the rector left Natone residents conferred with him, stating they were prepared to purchase the building and erect the same at Natone, and offered to pay the whole cost within three months. This offer was accepted by the rector, who thanked the deputation on behalf of the congregation for their devotion to the extension of church work”.

The church in question was St Stephen’s Anglican church which had opened at Wynyard in 1873 [see No. 652]. Within a month of Reverend Thomas’ visit to Natone, the old church was dismantled and transported to a prominent site opposite Natone’s general store. In late July 1919 the Launceston Examiner reported:

“Shortly after daybreak the residents of the centre of Burnie were startled by an unusual sound, which turned out to be several teams drawing a church building to Natone from Wynyard. The journey from Wynyard evidently had been undertaken during the night, in order to avoid the large amount of traffic usual on this road. A new brick church is being erected at Wynyard, and the rector of the Burnie parish secured the old wooden church for re-erection to meet the requirements of the populous centre of Upper Stowport and Natone, where Anglican services up to the present have been held in the state school”.

By May 1920 the foundation for the church had been built and a foundation stone ceremonially laid:

“The foundation stone of the Anglican Church at Natone was laid yesterday afternoon by Archdeacon Richard, and despite the unpropitious weather, there was a good attendance. A substantial sum was placed on the stone. Owing to the severity of the wind the musical programme arranged for by the Burnie choir was eliminated…”.

The promise made by the community to Reverend Thomas to “pay for the church with three months” only applied to the cost of purchasing and removing the building. The cost of re-erecting and furnishing the church was met in an ingenious way. In October 1920 the Burnie Advocate reported:

“In Natone the congregation of the new church have given very practical proof of their devotion to their church. Half a dozen teams and about 14 men gave their time and services to put in a crop of potatoes on five acres of land, generously given by Mr. L.J. Clark, the proceeds of which should go far to pay for the church”.

By the close of 1920 the church’s reconstruction was complete. The church was modified being rebuilt without its original imposing tower and the entrance doorway was moved to the side of the front porch. In December 1920 Bishop Hay visited Natone to inspect the building:

“On Friday the Bishop, accompanied by Mrs. Hay, Rev. W. G. Thomas, and Dr. Harrison, paid a visit of inspection to the Natone Church. He was received by the churchwardens, Messrs. Aitken and Story, and residents of the district and members of the congregation. He was gratified at the progress made with the building, and praised the energetic efforts of the people to provide themselves with such a substantial building….”.

It is unclear when the church was dedicated to St Michael although by 1922 it is referred to as St Michael’s church hall. I have not yet established the date of its closure but services were still held up until the early 1950’s. I have also yet to establish when the church was removed from the site or whether remnants of the building still exist.

Additional information about this church is welcomed as 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>

A frame from a British Pathe newsreel showing Natone General Store and St Michael's church hall in the background. (1950)

St Stephen's at Wynyard - undated - source: Libraries Tasmania PH30-1-7306


Sources:

Advocate, Monday 23 June 1919, page 2
Advocate, Thursday 10 July 1919, page 2
Examiner, Tuesday 24 June 1919, page 3
Advocate, Thursday 24 July 1919, page 2
Examiner, Friday 25 July 1919, page 3
Advocate, Saturday 31 January 1920, page 4
Examiner, Monday 17 May 1920, page 2
Advocate, Tuesday 18 May 1920, page 2
Advocate, Friday 22 October 1920, page 4
Examiner, Saturday 30 October 1920, page 4
Advocate, Tuesday 7 December 1920, page 4

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