No. 872 - Sisters Creek - Methodist [Uniting] Church (1893-2008)

Sisters Creek is a farming district on the Bass Highway 6 kilometres west of Boat Harbour. An 1851 map of Tasmania names a range of hills in the vicinity as the “Sisters”. The name seems to have been applied to the nearby creek.

The first Methodist services at Sisters Creek took place in 1890 “under the auspices of the Wesleyan church at Stanley”. In 1893 a church was built which also served as a schoolroom until the Sisters Creek State school was built in 1907. The church was built on land provided by Mr R.A. Pearson and it was intended that the building made be available for use by all religious denominations. In 1897 the land and the building was taken over by a Methodist Trust.

The church was officially opened on Sunday 25 June 1893. The event was recorded by the Wellington Times and Agricultural and Mining Gazette:

“The opening ceremonies….took place on Sunday last when the Rev. T. J. Payne preached to a good congregation at 11 a.m. and the Rev, C.G. Wilkinson in the evening to a large audience. The services were impressive and the singing led by Mr. Fist, to the accompaniment of Mr. Pearson's splendid organ was very pleasing”.

“On Wednesday notwithstanding the unfavourable state of the weather, the attendance at the tea meeting and entertainment was really excellent. Sister's Creek enjoyed a regular gala day, and probably the first great public event in its history was yesterday’s proceedings. The church was tastefully adorned with evergreens, flowers, and appropriate mottoes, and presented a very attractive appearance. The ladies of the district had provided a splendid repast, in fact, the good things were in superabundance….Visitors from all the neighbouring districts were present, Wynyard in particular being fully represented….”.

“Mr. Chappie gave the financial statement of the church, which showed that the building had boon opened almost free of debt, as only £2 was owing. The amount was nearly wiped off by a coffee supper at the close of the entertainment….The land on which the church stands was generously given by Mr, Pearson, and Mr. Smith and others erected the structure free of charge,…”.

The church has had a fairly unremarkable history although one event stands out. In March 1903, a letter to the North Western Advocate and the Emu Bay Times, written by an unhappy parishioner and signed “PEACE”, draws attention to the disruption of a service:

"Sir,— Will you kindly grant space in your valuable journal for reference to a disturbance in Sisters Creek Church last Sunday, the 15th inst. The creators of it were two youths from Boat Harbour, who, it appeared, came up sorely for the purpose of disturbing the service, which they succeeded in doing admirably by walking in and out, loudly talking and laughing around the church door, where they were joined by some of the senseless juniors of the congregation, making it impossible for the intelligent listeners to give due attention to the preacher. I may mention that usually the audience during divine service at the Sisters Creek Church are orderly and attentive, last Sunday being a rare and lamentable occurrence, which it is to be sincerely hoped will not occur again without the offenders being brought to justice….”.

Disruption of church services was not at all unusual at this time as the “larrikin element” made a sport of targeting Methodist, Brethren and Salvation Army services. However, the Sisters Creek incident seems to have been an isolated event.

In 1903 the church was enlarged and in 1907 after the Sisters Creek State school opened the building was used solely as a church. Families that were the mainstay of the church include: Walters; Harrison; French; Dowling; Fist and Snare. In 1977 Sisters Creek church joined the Uniting Church. The last service was held in 2008. At present the building does not appear to be in use.

* All photographs used in this article are my own.






Sources:

Daily Telegraph, Tuesday 2 September 1890, page 3
Wellington Times and Agricultural and Mining Gazette, Saturday 1 July 1893, page 3
Launceston Examiner, Saturday 29 July 1893, page 10
Wellington Times and Agricultural and Mining Gazette, Saturday 21 December 1895, page 1
North Western Advocate and the Emu Bay Times, Monday 23 March 1903, page 3
North Western Advocate and the Emu Bay Times, Monday 20 April 1903, page 2
North West Post, Thursday 24 August 1905, page 2
Examiner, Tuesday 2 April 1907, page 3
North Western Advocate and the Emu Bay Times, Thursday 18 July 1907, page 4

Stansall, M. E. J & 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.

Comments

  1. Thanks for your research and article, Duncan. The Allen family lived nearby when the church was built and are thought to have worshipped there. Would it be possible to use one or two of your photos for a genealogy profile (non-commercial) about a family member? Thanks

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  2. Thank you for asking. Please feel free to use. Duncan

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    2. Thanks so much. The image has been upload here https://www.wikitree.com/index.php?title=Allen-55691&errcode=saved with a credit to you. Kind regards. Murray

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