No. 989 - Glenlusk - St Barnabas' Anglican Church (1900-1945)

Glenlusk is a rural district north of Collinsvale and which falls within the boundaries of the City of Glenorchy. A description of the area in the 1890s sets the scene for the story of St Barnabas’ Anglican Church:

“This lovely spot is situated about 10 miles from Hobart. Proceeding by a steep but excellent road from Berriedale, the traveller finds it nestling on the top of the range dividing the valley of the Derwent from Sorell Creek. Here a magnificent panoramic view is obtainable,…the view needs being seen to be fully appreciated. From here the road divides into two, the one to the left proceeding to Bismarck where many foreign languages are spoken…. The road to the right winds down the steep pass of Sorell Creek to Molesworth. The staple products of Glenlusk are apples and small fruit,…the inhabitants seem a most industrious people…”.

One of these industrious inhabitants was George Arthur Waller, of Glenlusk House, derived from 'Luska' in Ireland and after which the district of Glenlusk is named. Waller was the patron of St Barnabas’ church which opened in May 1900. The Tasmanian Mail provides a few details about the church and its origins.

“The want of a place of worship for the many Church of England families in the well-populated Glenlusk district having been long complained of, the erection of a small church was undertaken some time since by Mr. and Mrs G.A. Waller, of Glenlusk, who purchased a piece of land for the purpose among their friends in England and Ireland towards the building, which has been now completed, furnished, and presented free of debt. It has been arranged that a weekly service will be held from the present time. The building is of a permanent character, being constructed with concrete walls, rough cast externally and internally plastered, and lined with local timber. The opening service was held on Sunday, 13th May, the Ven. the Archdeacon of Hobart, and the Rev. H. Heineken Marten, rector of Glenorchy, officiating. The Archdeacon read the Bishop’s licence, and preached a very eloquent sermon”.

George Arthur Waller (1835-1923) was a descendent of Richard Waller, a Lieutenant in Oliver Cromwell’s army, who settled at Cully, Newport, county Tipperary in the mid 17th century. The Waller family became important and prosperous members of the Anglo-Irish community. Waller graduated from Trinity College as an engineer and joined his cousins’ firm of Arthur Guinness Ltd. where he became Chief Engineer and Chief Brewer. At some point in his career Waller decided that his religious principles conflicted with his role in producing alcohol. He resigned from Guinness and started up a pottery. Unfortunately this venture collapsed, forcing him to sell a house he had built on Lough Derg at Luska and emigrate to Tasmania. He arrived at Hobart in 1882 along with his wife Sarah and six sons. 

Waller set up a farm at Glenlusk and became a prominent and prosperous member of the Hobart Community. He served on the Glenorchy Police Court and was also active in the Gleaners' Union, a sub-group of the Church Missionary Society, which was a missionary society associated with the evangelical section of the Church of England which sent missionaries to many parts of the world. Waller’s funding of the construction of St Barnabas’ was in keeping with his strong religious convictions and his active role in the Anglican Church.

The year St Barnabas’ opened proved to be a turning point for Waller. In the summer of 1900, devastating bushfires swept through southern Tasmania and Glenlusk House was partly damaged in one of these fires. This probably contributed to Waller’s decision to return to Ireland where he repurchased his country house ‘Luska’ which he had lost 20 years earlier. In 1902 Glenlusk House was sold and it became the premises of a short-lived boarding school.

Services at St Barnabas’ continued until 1945 when the building was destroyed in bushfires. The church was not rebuilt although Anglican services continued to be held in local homes until 1952.
 

St Barnabas' Anglican Church at Glenlusk - The Tasmanian Mail 1900



Sources:


Mercury, Saturday 8 September 1894, page 1
Tasmanian Mail, 1 September 1900, page 20
Tasmanian News, Tuesday 27 November 1900, page 2
The Mercury, Tuesday 14 May 1940, page 7
Examiner, Friday 28 December 1945, page 1

http://www.jocelynwaller.info/PriorPark.htm

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