No. 1058 - Strahan - St Finn Barr's Catholic Church (1900-2005)

Strahan is a small town on the west coast lying at the western end of the Lyell Highway. It was originally developed as a port of access for the hinterland mining settlements. The town was known as Long Bay or Regatta Point until 1877, when it was formally named after the colony’s Governor, Sir George Cumine Strahan.

Catholic services at Strahan were first held in the mid 1870s with mass celebrated in the local court house for almost 25 years. Construction of a church began in 1899 and was completed in the following year. St. Finn Barr's was officially opened on Sunday 10 June 1900 by Archbishop Patrick Delany. The ceremony was reported by several newspapers including the Zeehan and Dundas Herald:

“A most beautiful day favoured the ceremonies in connection with the opening of the Roman Catholic Church today. The service commenced at 8 a.m., and at 11 high mass was celebrated. Long before that time the church was packed, and large numbers could not gain admission. The church had been beautifully decorated with flowers and ferns by the ladies of the congregation. High mass was celebrated by his Lordship Dr Delany, assisted by the Rev. Fathers O'Regan, B. Murphy, of Zeehan, and James Murphy, of New Norfolk….”.

A detailed description of the building was published in another article in the Zeehan and Dundas Herald:

“The church is of Gothic design of the early English period, the details having been carefully studied by the architects. Although the construction of the building is in wood it compares most favourably for beauty with many stone or brick churches of similar dimensions. The building will at present accommodate about 300 people. It consists of nave, vestry, and entrance porch. The sanctuary which, as shown on the original design, will form an elegant feature, will be a future addition. The main elevation of the nave has a bold gable surmounted with an ornamental cross of fine proportion….The three front windows, which are very large, are simple in treatment, but quite in keeping with this style of architecture, the only ornament being the hood mouldings, which are finished on neatly carved wood bosses. On the east elevation is placed the entrance porch (this side being protected from the bad weather so often experienced on the West Coast). This porch has a gable roof, the gable and filling being somewhat similar to the front. The entrance door, which are Gothic headed, are bung to open outwards, thus securing ready means of egress in case of fire, and the inner door to the nave are hung in a similar manner….The general character of the interior of the building is simplicity, with very excellent mouldings and carved bosses. The walls are plastered with the exception of the dado, which is 3ft 6in high from the floor, and is carried around the nave….The church is well lighted, a soft light being obtained from the cathedral glass of amber tint….The altar rail is of blackwood with Huon pine standards and Gothic-shaped panels….The painting and decorating has been carried out in an artistic manner, the outside being in dull and light shades of green, picked out…..The church was designed and supervised by Messrs Austen and Keogh,… architects, of Strahan and Queenstown, the contractor being Mr J. Dunn, of Strahan….”.

St. Finn Barr's Catholic Church was sold in 2005 and converted into a house. Catholic services at Strahan are now held in Holy Trinity Anglican Church. In March 2022 the church was once again advertised for sale.


St Finn Barr's Catholic Church in 2007 (Domain.com)

  
St Finn Barr's Catholic Church in 2022 - Photo courtesy of Roberts Real Estate Burnie (see sources below for the full set of photographs)




St Finn Barr's Catholic Church in 2022 - Photo courtesy of Roberts Real Estate Burnie (see sources below for the full set of photographs)



St Finn Barr's Catholic Church in 2022 - Photo courtesy of Roberts Real Estate Burnie (see sources below for the full set of photographs)



St Finn Barr's Catholic Church in 2022 - Photo courtesy of Roberts Real Estate Burnie (see sources below for the full set of photographs)

St Finn Barr's Catholic Church in 2007 (Domain.com)




Sources:

Zeehan and Dundas Herald, Saturday 9 June 1900, page 4
Zeehan and Dundas Herald, Monday 11 June 1900, page 3
Examiner, Monday 11 June 1900, page 6
Mount Lyell Standard and Strahan Gazette, Monday 11 June 1900, page 2

Roberts Real Estate Burnie:  https://www.realestate.com.au/property-house-tas-strahan-138865951





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