No 1076 - Henrietta Baptist Church (1915-1959)

Henrietta is a rural settlement on the Murchison Highway approximately 30 kilometres south of Burnie. It is situated between the junctions of Takone Road and East Yolla Road. The closest town to Henrietta is Yolla, about 5 kilometres distant.

Early Baptist services at Henrietta were held in a house belonging to Mrs Graue. After this services were held in the Henrietta hall which was built in about 1912.

In 1914 a visitor passing through the district described the settlement:

“We are now on the borders of Henreitta Plain, the extent of which is one thousand acres. Here is also the Henrietta town reserve, the only buildings on which are a small homestead owned by Mr W. Diprose, and a hall erected by Mr S.J. Smith, in which services are held alternatively by the Baptists and Methodists. There are a number of settlers on the plain, but not on the main road…”.

In October 1915 the North West Post reported that the Baptist’s had purchased the hall, (which had closed), for £80. An amount of £60 had to be borrowed to secure the hall. After the Baptist’s converted the hall into a church it continued to be used for community events.

In 1954 the Advocate published a fairly lengthy report on the Henrietta church’s 39th anniversary:

“More than 100 guests packed the small Baptist Church on Saturday evening to unite in the celebration of the church's 39th birthday. Under the convenorship of Mrs. A. C. Crisp and Mrs. B. M. Terry, a welcome tea was served. The tables were beautifully decorated. The guests were welcomed by the Rev. D.S. Breguet. A most enjoyable social programme followed and supper and family worship concluded the evening. On Sunday worshippers filled the church for the services conducted by the pastor. During the morning service an organ, previously owned by the late Mr. H. B. Murfett, was presented to the church as a gift from the Sunday School by the superintendent (Mr. M. C. Richardson). It was unveiled by Mrs. B. M. Terry (organist). A gift of two chairs from the women's auxiliary was presented by the president (Mrs. D. S. Breguet) and unveiled by Mrs. A. C. Crisp. Among the many guests attending the functions were Mrs. Heaven (widow of the late Rev. W. L. Heaven, a former minister), Mrs. M. Rogers (Wynyard, widow of the late Mr. G. J. Rogers, a former Sunday School superintendent), Mrs. Brooks, Mr. and Mrs. Arden Hilder and Dorothy (Burnie). Many former Sunday School scholars returned for the weekend and members of the Yolla Methodist Church united in the services….”.

The Henrietta church failed to make its 50th anniversary as the dwindling congregation voted to combine with the Yolla Baptist church. The final service took place in 1959 and the building was sold. The proceeds of the sale enabled the funding of extensions to the church at Yolla. The old church was converted into a house. With the passage of over 60 years since the church’s closure, the building still exists but has been so altered it no longer resembles the original structure. I have included a photograph of the house below. I have yet to find a photograph of the original church.

The house on the site of Henrietta's Baptist church which possibly still contains material from the original building. (Google street-view)

A map of Henrietta (1956) which shows the site of the Henrietta Baptist church. (source: Libraries Tasmania)



Yolla Baptist church, with which the Henrietta church combined in 1959. (my photo)


Sources:

Daily Telegraph, Monday 23 March 1914, page 7
North West Post, Wednesday 20 October 1915, page 2
Advocate, Wednesday 22 September 1954, page 13

Rowston, Laurence F.  God's country training ground : a history of the Yolla Baptist Church 1910-2010 / Laurence F. Rowston  Baptist Union of Tasmania, and Yolla Baptist Church Yolla, [Tas.]  2010

Hemsley, Jennifer Around the country circuits : reminiscences of the Baptist Church family throughout "Tassie's top half". Regal Press, Launceston, Tas, 1996.


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