No. 1101 - Dundas - St David's Anglican Church (1911)

Dundas was a mining township located about 5 kilometres east of Zeehan in Western Tasmania. Silver was discovered in the Mount Dundas area in 1890. The Mount Dundas Post Office was opened by the end of 1890 and settlement’s name was shortened to Dundas in 1892. Dundas’ population peaked at around 1000 in the mid 1890s but gradually declined over the next three decades until the settlement was swallowed up by the bush.

Little is known about Dundas’ Anglican church which only functioned for a handful of years. No photograph of the church appears to exist. Dorothea Henslowe’s ‘Our heritage of Anglican churches in Tasmania’ states that “a corrugated iron building was turned into a church” at cost of £45. In December 1911, the Hobart Mercury reported:

“Bishop Mercer arrived a Zeehan yesterday, and in the afternoon conducted a confirmation service… he visited Dundas, and held a service in the new church, but, as the building is not quite completed, the proposed dedication ceremony was not performed…”.

By the end of the year he church was still incomplete, however a report in the Zeehan and Dundas Herald suggests that considerable progress had been made:

“The Ven. Archdeacon of Darwin held the first service at St. David's, Dundas, by a celebration of the Holy Communion at 8.45 a.m. on Sunday, 31st December, and afternoon service at 3p.m., when the church was filled to its utmost capacity….St. David's Church, Dundas, supplies a long felt want, and will when completed be very compact. One cannot say too much in praise of the energy which has directed the proceedings. The organ was received on Saturday last, general satisfaction being expressed at its tone, the Archdeacon playing the hymns at both services, everyone joining heartily in the singing”.

In March 1912 the Mercury reported that St. David’s came very close to being lost in a bushfire which raged around the West Coast communities:

“At Dundas the Church of England, the railway station, and other buildings became ignited, but the flames were extinguished before serious damage had been done”.

Proof that the church survived the fire is found in a public notice in the Zeehan and Dundas Herald in December 1912. This indicates that three services took place at St David’s on the fourth Sunday of Advent, 22 December 1912. After this date no further information about the church was published. It is assumed that the church closed shortly after this service. From the newspaper record it is not certain that the church was ever consecrated.

A view of Dundas c.1910 - source: Libraries Tasmania - Item Number  PH30/1/1462

A notice published in the Zeehan and Dundas Herald - possibly the last service held a St David's.


Sources:

Daily Post, Monday 18 December 1911, page 6
Mercury, Monday 18 December 1911, page 5
North Western Advocate and the Emu Bay Times, Monday 18 December 1911, page 3
Zeehan and Dundas Herald, Tuesday 2 January 1912, page 1
Mercury, Monday 4 March 1912, page 3
Zeehan and Dundas Herald, Saturday 21 December 1912, page 1

Henslowe, Dorothea I. and Hurburgh, Isa.  Our heritage of Anglican churches in Tasmania / by Dorothea I. Henslowe ; sketches by Isa Hurburgh,1978






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