No. 729 - Montagu Bay - St James' Anglican Church (1966-2019)

Montagu Bay is a suburb of Hobart located on the eastern shore of the Derwent River, about four kilometres from central Hobart. The suburb’s name appears to come from Algernon Montagu, an Attorney General and judge in Van Diemen’s Land. He established a property, Rosny House, in the vicinity of Montagu Bay.

Regular Anglican services at Montagu Bay began in the late 1940’s when an old army “musset hut” was acquired as a temporary place of worship. The building was later dedicated to St James. In the 1950’s fundraising for a church became the focus of the community. When an opportunity to purchase the Montagu Bay Congregational Church was presented, this was eagerly taken up. The Anglicans had rented the church since 1964 thus it was a natural progression to purchase the building in 1966. Soon after this the old “musset hut” was moved onto the site. This was attached to the church and used for Sunday school activities. A porch was added to the church in 1972.

The church’s closure in 2018 was controversial and resisted by parishioners. In 2018 the ‘Tasmanian Times’ published an article written by long time parishioner Peter Fleming who describes the churches demise in a tussle with neighbouring St Aidan’s church (both of the Lindisfarne Parish):

“…Management committees were set up for the management of the church and an agreement arranged with the rector from St Aidans to provide a Sunday service. Eventually the Rector sat in on management committee meetings and formal minutes taken with positions of treasurer, secretary etc. They managed to accumulate quite a healthy account entrusted to the Diocesan Trust. As the block, the church was built on, was quite large it was decided to subdivide. An agreement was reached with a local developer who built two units on the rear portion, part of the deal was that the developer would provide a new toilet block and fencing. This put St James in a very healthy financial position, also one of the long-term church members had passed away and left a generous bequest to the church. All up, using the reserve bank’s calculation tables, in today`s values the money was in the area of $100,000. Unfortunately for St James the financial position at St Aidans was rather bad and without the consent of any of the committee or indeed the treasurer, somehow the money was removed from the control of St James and has effectively disappeared. Since then St James has been the poor cousin of St Aidans with the entire collection going to St Aidans and very little being returned despite parishioner numbers steadily increasing. We are now faced with the threat of losing the church as well, with the Bishop stopping services (for a perceived insult ) which in effect allows him to sell without going through normal procedure because the church is “not being used”. It also has to be kept in mind that the sale of St James was in the planning of the St Aidans Rector (and probably the Bishops) for some time before “redress” was even mentioned. It was apparently planned to use the funds from the sale to reinvigorate St Aidans for a planned change over to “contemporary evangelism”. This move has had the effect of losing a large number of elderly parishioners who were the main financial base of the church. End result is Montagu Bay parishioners are going to lose both their church (which the Diocese did not contribute anything towards) and the large amount of money they previously had”.

The church was closed in June 2018 and deconsecrated on 3 February 2019. It was sold later in that year. A voluntary group of Rosny and Montagu Bay residents was formed in an effort to try and convert the church into a community hall. 

Sadly the effort to save the church failed and the building was demolished to make way for a house. (see the montage below)

An article on the Montagu Bay Congregational church can be found on this link [No. 698]

The church in 2019 - Photograph courtesy of Petrusma Property Lindisfarne

A portion of the old army hut can be seen at back of the church. Photograph courtesy of Petrusma Property Lindisfarne

St James' in 2015 and 2022


The Mercury, Thursday 3 December 1953, page 21

Henslowe, Dorothea I and Hurburgh, Isa Our heritage of Anglican churches in Tasmania. Mercury-Walch, Moonah, Tas, 1978.


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