No. 1093 - Hobart - Knox Free Chapel (1857-1861)

The Knox Chapel was a short lived church that occupied the old Collins Street Independent Chapel for a period of four years. The Collins Street Independent Chapel, built in 1837 is one of several Hobart churches associated with businessman and philanthropist, Henry Hopkins (1787–1870). The chapel, which was located at 56 Collins Street, is now hidden behind a facade of a new building constructed in the early 20th century. [See No. 1000]

In 1857 the Collins Street Independent chapel was sold to the congregation of Reverend John Downes for an amount of £1400. On 1 November 1857 it reopened as the Knox Chapel. In 1858 the congregation of the Knox Chapel was accepted into Free Church Presbytery, which had been established in Tasmania in 1853 following a split in the Scottish Presbyterian Church. In June 1858 a report in the Launceston Examiner reveals the reason for Downes’ departure for the Free Presbyterian Church:

“The Presbytery has published a statement respecting the case of the Rev. John Downes, who was for some time under their jurisdiction as assistant to the Rev. Dr. Lillie, at Hobart Town, and thereafter as city missionary. To this statement the committee of Knox's Church, the congregation of which, with Mr. Downes as their pastor, appear to have withdrawn from the jurisdiction of the Presbytery…The main point in dispute seems to have been the refusal of the Presbytery to appoint Mr. Downes to a church in Hobart Town”.

In 1861 Downes left Tasmania to take up a position at a church at Learmonth in Victoria. The departure of Downes effectively resulted in the closure of Knox Free Chapel. In 1861 the chapel was taken over by the Primitive Methodist church which occupied the building up until Methodist Union in 1902.

The chapel was sold in June 1903 and soon after this was incorporated within a new building. The eastern wall of the original chapel is visible from Market Place.

The Collins Street Independent Chapel/Knox Independent Chapel  (undated) - Source: Libraries Tasmania


Tasmanian Daily News, Monday 12 October 1857, page 2
The Courier, Monday 12 October 1857, page 3
Hobart Town Mercury, Friday 30 October 1857, page 3
Launceston Examiner, Saturday 7 November 1857, page 3
Launceston Examiner, Thursday 10 June 1858, page 3
Launceston Examiner, Saturday 17 July 1858, page 3
Hobart Town Advertiser, Thursday 25 April 1861, page 3


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