No. 1113 - Penguin - Presbyterian Church (1888-1905)

Penguin is a seaside town situated approximately 10 kilometres west of Ulverstone. It was established in the 1860’s and was one of the last coastal towns in the northwest to be settled. The Victorian gold rush created a renewed demand for timber and consequently wood cutters and splitters moved into the area. The town was named by the botanist Ronald Campbell Gunn after the penguin rookeries that were once common along this part of the coast.

Penguin's Presbyterian church has a complicated history. It was removed from Penguin to West Pine in 1905 but was blown down in a storm in 1910. This was replaced by a new church in 1911. This church closed in 1930 but was used by the Methodists until 1933. The church was later sold in 1941 and removed to a site near Howth on the Bass Highway where it was converted into a house.

This article will trace the history of the church from its origins at Penguin in 1888 through to its removal to West Pine in 1905. I have seek to locate a photograph of the church before it was moved from Penguin.

Presbyterian activity at Penguin began in 1886 with Reverend Hull holding a service in a local hall. Within the space of two years the Presbyterians had built a church in the town:

“The new Presbyterian Church at Penguin was formally opened with divine service on Wednesday last, the Rev. J. Russell, M.A., of Evandale, preaching an appropriate discourse. A substantial dinner was afterwards laid in the Town Hall, about 160 friends and visitors being present….The new church, which was designed by Mr Bellion and erected by Messrs. Jenkin and Ling, is capable of holding about 120 persons, and is very neatly and comfortably finished and fitted up…”.

After the turn of the century the church experienced declining numbers and from 1904 the Penguin Baptist mission was also using the building. In 1905 a decision was made to relocate the church and in September 1905 tenders were advertised for its removal to a site at West Pine. In November 1905 The North Western Advocate and the Emu Bay Times reported:

“Mr J. Ling has succeeded in removing the Scotch Kirk from Penguin to the corner of Mr Robson’s land, West Pine Road. The walls were taken whole. Mr W. Bosney carefully did the carting”.

By late 1905 the church had been reassembled and reopened for services on Sunday 24 December. Disaster struck when in August 1910 the church was completely destroyed in a storm. It was replaced by a new church which was opened and dedicated by Reverend Stewart Byron on Thursday 5 January 1911.


A public notice seeking tenders to build a Presbyterian church at Penguin - North West Post - November 1887


Sources:

The Tasmanian Mail, 12 June 1886, page 20
North West Post, Saturday 26 November 1887, page 3
Devon Herald, Friday 16 March 1888, page 2
Daily Telegraph, Monday 19 March 1888, page 3
The North Western Advocate and The Emu Bay Times, Saturday 25 June 1904, page 2
The North Western Advocate and The Emu Bay Times, Wednesday 6 September 1905, page 2
The North Western Advocate and The Emu Bay Times, Friday 24 November 1905, page 2
The North Western Advocate and The Emu Bay Times, Saturday 23 December 1905, page 6
The North Western Advocate and The Emu Bay Times, Wednesday 18 April 1906, page 2
The North Western Advocate and The Emu Bay Times, Saturday 11 June 1910, page 7
The North Western Advocate and The Emu Bay Times, Thursday 11 August 1910, page 2
The North Western Advocate and The Emu Bay Times, Tuesday 18 October 1910, page 2
The North Western Advocate and The Emu Bay Times, Wednesday 4 January 1911, page 2
The North Western Advocate and The Emu Bay Times, Wednesday 11 January 1911, page 2
The Advocate, Saturday 18 February 1933, page 2
Examiner, Monday 22 December 1941, page 4

Keesing, Ann, Johnstone, Phillippa and Penguin History Group (Tas.) Churches of Penguin and surrounding district. Penguin History Group Inc, [Penguin, Tas.], 2009.

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