No. 1189 - Ross - Mona Vale Chapel (c.1868)

Mona Vale is a palatial house and historical property located about seven kilometres south of the town of Ross.

The house was designed by William Archer and is built in the style of a grand Italianate villa. It was constructed in the 1860s by Robert Quayle Kermode and is the third house to be built upon the property since a land grant was made to Robert’s father, William Kermode, in 1821. When it was completed in 1867, it was the largest private house in Australia. The estate forms a small settlement with numerous outbuildings, cottages and a small chapel.

Mona Vale has hosted a number of royal and aristocratic dignitaries over the years including the Duke of Edinburgh (1868), the Duke and Duchess of York (1927) and Lord Kitchener (1910). The estate was purchased by the Cameron family in the 1920s.

A small private chapel was built on the estate in 1868. This replaced an earlier “temporary” chapel built in the 1830s. The chapel was designed by William Archer and was completed in time for the Duke of Edinburgh's visit in 1868. The chapel is built of sandstone in the gothic style and topped by a bell-cote.

While Mona Vale was under construction, a report in the Examiner welcomed the news that a church was to be built, as the Anglican church at Ross was “tumbling to pieces” and services had been abandoned:

“It is generally understood, that a church is to be built on the establishment. This is much wanted as there is no Episcopalian Church at Ross, a village close at hand-although the proprietor some time since offered to give two-thirds of the cost of erecting a church at Ross.…”.

With the completion of a new Anglican church at Ross in 1869, public use of the Mona Vale Chapel did not eventuate.

Over the years Mona Vale Chapel has been used for private and public services and a number of marriages and christenings are recorded. A Sunday school, for the children of workers on the estate, was conducted in the chapel for a number of years. Very few photographs of this private chapel are available in the public domain.

Mona Vale Chapel - see details below 

Mona Vale Private Chapel - source: Early houses of Northern Tasmania, by E. Graeme Robertson and Edith N. Craig.

A rare photograph of the chapel taken in 1950 - Source:  Jack Thwaites and Family (NG1155), Tasmanian State Archives.

Mona Vale shortly after the completion of construction. source: Photographic Carte-De-Visite Collection (NS1442) Tasmanian State Archives.

Robert Quayle Kermode -  Members of the Parliaments of Tasmania - no. 53 - photographed by J.W. Beattie.

Mona Vale in 1893. Photographer: Arthur Green, Northern Tasmanian Camera Club album. no. 22 1893, Tasmanian State Archives - AUTAS001139592448


Launceston Examiner, Wednesday 4 July 1866, page 2
Launceston Examiner, Thursday 19 July 1866, page 3
Mercury, Monday 20 January 1868, page 3
The Cornwall Chronicle, Wednesday 11 May 1870, page 3
Examiner, Tuesday 3 February 1903, page 6
Mercury, Saturday 30 November 1935, page 17
Mercury, Friday 16 October 1936, page 6

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

Early Houses of Northern Tasmania (Volume 1); E. Graeme Robertson and Edith N. Craig., Melbourne, 1966


Popular posts from this blog

Welcome to Churches of Tasmania

No. 624 - Dunalley - St Martin's Anglican Church - "In grateful memory of the men who fought in the Great War"

No. 592 - Gretna - St Mary the Virgin - "Worthy of Imitation"