No. 1114 - Magra - St John's Anglican Church (1955)

Magra is a residential area approximately 3 kilometres north of New Norfolk. Magra is a word used by Eastern Aboriginal peoples meaning 'day'. The area was previously called Back River.

Magra's former Anglican church was originally a church built at Black Hills which is situated approximately 7 kilometres north of the settlement. Anglican services were held at Black Hills from about 1898. A church was built in 1900 and mostly financed by Mrs A.H. Sharland on land donated by Isaac Triffitt. St John’s was consecrated by Bishop Mercer in September 1903.

For reasons not known services at the Black Hills church ceased in 1916 and the building fell into a state of disrepair over the next sixteen years. Occasional services continued at the Black Hills State school. In February 1933, as a result of the efforts of Reverend Brammall, St John’s was reopened after it had been reroofed and new windows installed. A second-hand organ was donated by the Anglican congregation at Molesworth in 1935.

Regular services were held until the late 1940s after which the congregation dwindled and the church once again closed. In August 1954 the Mercury reported that the "residents of Magra...have contributed more than £55 towards the removal of the Black Hills Church of England to Magra". In 1955 the church was moved onto a site near the Magra State Primary school.

By the 1990s services ceased and the church was sold and removed once again in 1999. The church is now located on the Hamilton Road and is known as “The Blue Chapel” which is currently in the process of being restored to its former glory and third life as part of a local pottery business.



The former Black Hills church in the process of being restored with a new roof and windows and the spire still to be replaced. Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019

The former Black Hills church in the process of being restored with a new roof and windows and the spire still to be replaced. Photograph: Duncan Grant 2019

St John's at Black Hills (1933) The Mercury

The location of Black Hills in the Derwent Valley - placenames.gov.tas.au

Sources:

Mercury, Friday 29 April 1898, page 3
Mercury, Monday 30 January 1933, page 3
Mercury, Monday 27 February 1933, page 3
Mercury, Wednesday 1 March 1933, page 12
Huon and Derwent Times, Thursday 25 July 1935, page 6
Mercury, Saturday 13 March 1948, page 5
Mercury, Tuesday 20 July 1954, page 15
Mercury, Wednesday 4 August 1954, page 13

Henslowe, Dorothea I and Hurburgh, Isa Our heritage of Anglican churches in Tasmania. Mercury-Walch, Moonah, Tas, 1978.

Links of Interest:

The Blue Church - Pottery https://earthlingcup.com/contact/

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