No. 994 - Old Beach Methodist Church (1853-2003)

The settlement at Old Beach grew around a ferry service which ran from Austin's Ferry on the western shore of the Derwent River to a landing point on the eastern shore known as Compton Ferry. In 1824, the first settler to receive a grant in the area was John Ogle Gage.

At the close of the 19th century Old Beach was described by correspondent for the Mercury:

“Lying between Brighton Junction railway station and Risdon Ferry is the district of Old Beach, in which farming is the staple industry… habitation is scattered, and the public buildings are the Anglican and Methodist churches and the State school….”.

While the establishment of St George’s Anglican church (1881) is well documented, the older Wesleyan Methodist church has left little trace in the historical record. The church opened in March 1853 and for about 20 years it was the only place of worship located in an area stretching from Pontville to Bellerive. By the 1870s the Anglican’s were using the church once a month by “the courtesy of the minister at the head of the Wesleyan body”.

A decline in population in the Old Beach area led to the church’s closure in the 1930s. However as the East Shore developed the church briefly reopened as the Uniting Church from the 1980s to the 1990s. Given the building’s age and limited size the church was closed and put up for sale in 2003. The church was sold in the following year and subsequently restored and converted into a residence.
The Old Beach Methodist Church (c.1974) Libraries Tasmania LPIC33-1-7

The church after its restoration - photo courtesy of 4ONE4 Properties (2017)

The church after its restoration - photo courtesy of 4ONE4 Properties (2017)


Tasmanian Daily News, Tuesday 5 January 1858, page 3
The Mercury, Tuesday 20 May 1879, page 3
Mercury, Wednesday 11 May 1904, page 5
The Mercury, 7 July 2017

Stansall, M. E. J. and Methodist Church of Australasia.  Tasmanian Methodism, 1820-1975 / [by M.E.J. Stansall ... et al]  Methodist Church of Australasia Launceston, Tas  1975


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