No. 956 - Irishtown - Seventh-Day Adventist Church (1932-1952)

Irishtown is rural community situated approximately 10 kilometres south of Smithton. The area was first settled in the late 1850s by Irish migrants when the area was known as Upper Duck River.

In 1932 Irishtown acquired its sixth church following the establishment of a community of Seventh-Day Adventists. The Seventh-Day Adventist Church was established in Tasmania in 1888. The denomination originated in the USA in the 1860s and in 1885 a group of Adventists travelled to Australia and began preaching in Melbourne. After a community was formed in Melbourne in 1886, members moved on to Sydney, Adelaide and Hobart. Public tent meetings were held in Sandy Bay in 1888 which led to the establishment of a church at Collinsvale and then Hobart followed by Launceston in the early 20th century.

The first Adventist service in the Circular Head district was held at Lileah in 1902. By 1929 a “Sabbath school” was organised which met in the Lileah school. Around this time the Adventists began evangelising in Irishtown and in September 1931 a church was established with 29 members. In the following year a small weather board church was built on land donated by Mr Ben Young. The church opened on Saturday 9 January 1932 which was reported in ‘The Australasian Record’:

“Nested among the hills in a most picturesque spot in the Irishtown district, stands the newly erected Seventh-day Adventist church. Of modern design throughout, and painted to give a two- tone effect, the building is of neat appearance. As far as has been possible the material used in construction is of local origin, the cost of construction being borne entirely by members of the church. The scantling for the framework of the building was milled at the Edith Creek sawmill, Mr. Hay generously lending the plant, which did yeoman service, to a staff of Adventist workmen, who, under the supervision of Mr. Sid Hay, who gave his services gratis…..”.

"Last Saturday was the day set apart for the dedication of the church. At 10.30 a.m. the Sabbath school was conducted, seventy members being present to join in class study, which involved the consideration of the principles announced by the Lord in His 'sermon on the mount.' At 11.45 a.m. Evangelist C. E. Bird delivered an address on the standards of the church, taking for his text Matthew 28: 18-20…. Following this service a baptism was held, eight new members confirming their faith in Christ and their belief in the principles as taught by the church”.


The steady growth of an Adventist community in Smithton led to a move away from Irishtown. In the early 1950s the two communities amalgamated and worked towards building a new church in Smithton which was to open in 1959. The weatherboard church Irishtown was sold in the early 1950s for a sum of £100. I have not yet discovered what became of the church after its sale.


Australasian Record 1932



Sources:

Advocate, Tuesday 12 January 1932, page 6
Australasian Record, Vol.36, No. 6, Monday February 8 1932, page 6.
Australasian Record, Volume 64, No.4, January 25 1960, page 3 

https://www.utas.edu.au/library/companion_to_tasmanian_history/S/Seventh.htm










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