No. 1089 - Devonport - St John's Parish Hall (1908)

This entry is the third in a series of articles concerning buildings associated with some of Tasmania’s most significant churches. These buildings include Sunday schools, parish halls, convents, schools and residences of the clergy. Ancillary buildings are often overlooked and are rarely featured in published histories. My aim is to create a simple record of some of the most significant of these buildings, including some which no longer exist.

Devonport’s St John’s Anglican church opened in 1906, replacing an earlier weatherboard ‘mission church’ built in 1887. Two years after the church opened a block of land was acquired on which to built a parish hall and Sunday school. The initial plan was to build a weatherboard hall. However a tender from James Wilson for a brick hall at a cost of £310 was accepted. The building was designed by architect Stephen Priest of Devonport. The foundation stone for the hall was ceremonially laid on Wednesday 27 May 1908.

The building was completed before the year’s end and was officially opened on Monday 5 October 1908 by Bishop Mercer. The North Western Advocate and the Emu Bay Times carried the following report of the occasion:

“Yesterday the Bishop of Tasmania, Dr. Mercer, addressed the Mother’s Union at East Devonport in the afternoon, and in the evening opened the new Parish Hall at West Devonport, a handsome brick building. There was a large attendance. Members of the choir occupied the platform, and rendered musical. …Canon de Coetlogon, before introducing the Bishop, said it was a matter of great happiness that they were able to meet in the new schoolroom, and it was a happy coincidence that His Lordship should be there to perform the opening ceremony and deliver one of his much appreciated lectures He rejoiced that the Sunday school would be housed in a suitable building and he himself hoped to give an address next Sunday at 2.30 p.m. prior to Sunday school commencing…..Dr. Mercer, who was heartily. received, complimented them on their new schoolroom, and formally declared the building open with some witty remarks. He urged the formation of clubs for men and boys which could meet in that building. He advanced reasons against having the Sunday school being held in the church, as it took the edge off the children's reverence for the church and also took the edge off the cleanliness of the floor. He went on to give his lecture entitled ‘The Marvels of Instinct’…”.


North Western Advocate and the Emu Bay Times , Friday 1 May 1908, page 2
Daily Telegraph, Thursday 28 May 1908, page 5
North Western Advocate and the Emu Bay Times, Tuesday 6 October 1908, page 2


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