No. 1081 - Hobart - Brisbane Street Congregational Church (1832-1872)

The former Brisbane Street Congregational Church was demolished in 1911. It was a building of some significance being the first Congregational church built in Australia.

One of the most significant figures in the establishment of Congregationalism in Tasmania was Henry Hopkins. Hopkins arrived in Hobart in 1822 and soon established himself as a successful businessman. He became the leader of a small group of independent Christians who wanted to establish a church of their own. It was Hopkins who in 1828 approached the London Missionary Society for help in providing a minister.

In 1830, in response to Henry Hopkins' request, Reverend Frederick Miller arrived in Hobart. For 25 years Miller was secretary of the Bible Society, worked with the Sunday School Union and the Tract Society, established the Bethel Union and was an originator of the Colonial Missions Society, while also ministering to the Brisbane Street Church, which opened in 1832.

On 17 October 1830 Miller held his first service in a “long room” in a building belonging to Mr J. P. Deane. This was located on Elizabeth Street, opposite the ‘Cat and Fiddle Alley’. This was used as a place of worship until a church was built about 18 months later.

The foundation-stone for Hobart’s first Congregational church was laid on May 28, 1831. The building was opened for public worship on Good Friday, April 20, 1832. The church was a large sandstone building designed to seat about 500 worshippers. The church reflected the late Georgian period of architecture with ornamental pilasters and a central doorway with a distinctive fanlight window above.

The Brisbane Street church was used as a place of worship until 1872 when it was replaced by the Congregational Memorial Church built on the corner Elizabeth and Brisbane Streets. The old church was thereafter used as a Sunday school and hall until it was demolished in 1911 and replaced by the Congregational Memorial Hall.

Brisbane street Congregational Church - Tasmanian Mail

The old Brisbane Street church alongside the new Memorial Church that opened in 1872 - Source: Libraries Tasmania - item PH30-1-1362

Tasmanian Mail

 The Colonial Times, Friday 15 October 1830

The Tasmanian, Friday 18 March 1831

Launceston Advertiser, Wednesday 18 April 1932


The Colonial Times, Friday 15 October 1830, page 1
The Tasmanian, Friday 18 March 1831, page 2
The Hobart Town Courier, Saturday 14 January 1832, page 2
Launceston Advertiser, Wednesday 18 April 1932
Mercury, Saturday 2 September 1911, page 7
Tasmanian Mail, 7 September 1911.

Sharples, Theo E. and Congregational Union of Tasmania.  Congregationalism in Tasmania, 1830-1977 : a brief history / compiled by Theo E. Sharples  Congregational Union of Tasmania Hobart  1977


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