No. 1095 - Alberton - Methodist Church (1894 - c.1929)

This is another in a series of short articles about minor churches that have left little trace in the historical or photographic record. Among the objectives of this blog is to create a definitive catalogue of all churches and other places of worship that have existed in Tasmania since settlement. My hope is that the publication of basic details about these buildings might result in further information and photographs coming into the public domain.

Alberton is a former mining town located approximately 8 kilometres south of Ringarooma. It lay at the junction of New River Road and Alberton Road, on the banks of the Dorset River below Mount Victoria. It is thought to have been named in honour of Prince Albert who visited Tasmania in 1867. At its peak Alberton and its mining camps had a population of about 800. In the mid 1880s the town had several stores, two hotels, a post office, a school and a Methodist church. The Anglican’s acquired land in the township to build a church but this did not eventuate as the town’s fortunes declined.

In 1884, Launceston’s Daily Telegraph reported that a Wesleyan Methodist church had opened at Alberton on Sunday 6 April:

A pleasing ceremony took place here last Sunday, at the opening of the newly erected Wesleyan Church. The Rev. W. Dawson, from Scottsdale, preached two appropriate sermons to large congregations. On Monday evening a tea meeting was held in connection with the church. About sixty sat down to an excellent tea, which reflected great credit on the two ladies, Mesdames Thorne and Currier, who spared neither time nor trouble to make it a success. After tea a public meeting was held, presided over by Mr Christopher Krushka, of Ringarooma .…From a statement read to the meeting it appears the total cost of the church was about £60, which, with subscriptions and collection on Sunday, left a debt of £40. A collection was made at the meeting, when some £14 was collected, leaving £26 still owing. The Chairman then said his brother and he would give a cheque for the balance, and he then declared the church opened free of debt”.

By the 1890s Alberton’s population had collapsed and there are few reports about the church after this. However, a revival of mining activities in the 1920s reveals that the church still existed and was functioning. In 1923 the North East Advertiser reported:

“Alberton is assuming signs of a revival as several new buildings are in the course of erection, one store being opened, and two others nearing completion. [A] Church service, the first for many years, was held on Sunday last by Rev. Barnes, of Ringarooma”.

Alberton’s revival was however short-lived. In May 1929 mines in the district were badly damaged by a catastrophic flood following sustained heavy rains across northern Tasmania. The North East Advertiser reported:

“Although surrounded by water the inhabitants of the pretty little village of Alberton did not suffer much discomfort, their dwellings being on rising ground. For some time, however, they were isolated, the culverts on the roadway to Ringarooma having been washed away…”.


While the town survived the flood, its days were numbered. By the late 1930s the last mine had closed and in the years that followed the population dwindled and the settlement was abandoned. The old Methodist church was carted away and repurposed for use a barn on a nearby farm. The building still exists and I hope to be able to photograph it in the near future.


A scene at Alberton following the flood of 1929 - source: Libraries Tasmania


Source: Dorset Historical Society 


Sources:

Launceston Examiner, Wednesday 12 December 1883, page 3
Daily Telegraph, Friday 11 April 1884, page 3
North East Advertiser, Friday 20 July 1923, page 3
North East Advertiser, Friday 3 May 1929, page 2

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Welcome to Churches of Tasmania

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

No. 1017 - Hobart - St Peter's Hall