No. 1180 - Hobart - Battery Point - Congregational School and Chapel (1850-1911)

Battery Point is an historical inner suburb on the east side of Hobart, fronting onto the Derwent River. The suburb’s name is derived from Mulgrave Battery was established in the 1818 for coastal defence purposes.

The former Congregational Chapel and Sunday school is located on Hampden Road. It was established by the Brisbane street Congregational Church. The Sunday school was formed in 1848 and a school building and chapel was erected in 1850.

A brief article published in the Hobart Courier makes mention of the official opening on Thursday 7 February 1850:

“The Independent Church of Brisbane-street opened a new school-house at Battery point, which they have lately erected in that locality at a cost of £ 250. About 4 o’clock p.m. some 70 Sabbath-school children assembled, and were regaled with tea and cake, after which the friends of the school took tea together. The Rev. F. Miller presided”.

The debt on the building was extinguished in 1854 following a “Christmas Tea Meeting” where £40 was raised. In 1866 the school was extended (effectively rebuilt) to a design by architect Francis Butler, who also designed the Brisbane Street Congregation Church. The building was officially reopened on Sunday 3 March 1867 when sermons were preached in the afternoon and evening by Reverend J.W. Simmons and Reverend George Clarke. A fund-raising tea-meeting was held on Tuesday 5 March:

“The new school-room, Hampden Road, Battery Point, was opened last evening by a tea meeting, which was very numerously attended. H. Hopkins, Esq., occupied the chair, and addresses were delivered by the Rev. Messrs. Simmons, Robinson, and friends. The school-room is a neat one-storey structure which has been erected at a cost of about £290. Of this sum there is still about £150 to be made up. A collection was made last evening, in aid of the building fund, when £11 was subscribed”.

By the early 20th century the building also functioned as a local hall. In 1912 it became a Methodist Mission Hall and was purchased by the Methodist Church. In 1958 the Methodist’s sold the building to the Battery Point Community Association for use as a Community Centre.

The period in which the building was used as a Methodist Mission will be the focus of an upcoming article of ‘Churches of Tasmania’.




A detail of an architectural drawing by Francis Butler which shows the original Battery Point School and Chapel which opened in 1850. Source: www.batterypointhall.org.au

The Mercury, Monday 4 March 1867.



Sources:

The Courier, Saturday 24 March 1849, page 4
The Courier, saturday 9 February 1850, page 2
The Hobart Town Advertiser, Monday 2 January 1854, page 3
Tasmanian Morning Herald, Friday 19 October 1866, page 1
The Mercury, Saturday 2 March 1867, page 2
The Mercury, Monday 4 March 1867, page 1
The Mercury, Wednesday 6 March 1867, page 2
The Mercury, Monday 25 March 1867, page 3

https://www.batterypointhall.org.au/history-of-the-community-centre/






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