No. 1022 - South Hobart - Davey Street Wesleyan Chapel (1838-1870)

Davey Street Methodist Chapel was one of a number of Wesleyan-Methodist Sunday schools established in the greater Hobart area during the 1820s and 1830s. Sunday schools were sometimes also used as day schools and most served as places of worship. In fact a number of Hobart’s historic Methodist churches originated as humble Sunday schools.

Hobart’s first Methodist Sunday school opened with 23 scholars on May 13, 1821. Robert Household and John Hiddlestone were the first superintendents. In 1824 a Methodist Sunday School Union was formed and schools were established at Liverpool Street; Sandy Bay; Kangaroo Point; O'Brien's Bridge and at the Penitentiary. A school was also established in a room near the corner of Liverpool and Harrington Streets. In 1832 a Sunday school and chapel was established in a house in Argyle Street. At a Sunday School Union meeting held on August 27, 1834, a motion was passed find suitable premises to rent for a Sunday school in either Davey or Macquarie Streets. This led to the establishment of the first Methodist church in South Hobart.

A building that had previously been used as a dwelling was secured at a site at 211 Davey Street. The Davey Sunday school opened in 1834. Soon after this the property was purchased and a small chapel erected.

By April 1836 there were 96 children on the Davey Street Sunday school roll which had a teaching staff of six. Nine members of the church were listed on the roll. The need for a larger premises soon became a matter of urgency and in 1837 an adjoining block of land with a right of way to Macquarie Street was purchased for the sum of £140. A chapel was built on this site and this was officially opened on 1 April 1838. This is the building seen in the photograph below.

By the 1860s the Davey Street Sunday school accommodated 152 students with 14 teachers. By this time the congregation had outgrown the chapel and the construction of a larger place of worship had become a necessity. The foundation stone of a new Methodist church was laid on 21 July 1870.

The history of the new Davey Street Methodist church, which opened in 1871, will be the subject of a further article on Churches of Tasmania.

The 1838 Davey Street Chapel the rear of the new Davey Street Methodist Church. Source: Libraries Tasmania - Item No. PH30-1-2018


The Hobart Town Courier, Friday 18 March 1838, page 1


The Hobart Town Courier, Friday 18 March 1838, page 1
Tasmanian Daily News, Wednesday 26 November 1856, page 3
Mercury, Wednesday 7 November 1934, page 10

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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