No. 1216 - Hobart - All Saints' Sunday School (1877) "Unwearied zeal and enthusiasm"

This article is one of a series about the history buildings associated with some of Tasmania’s most significant churches. These buildings include Sunday schools, parish halls, convents, schools and residences of the clergy. Ancillary buildings are often overlooked and rarely feature in published histories. My aim is to create a simple record of these buildings, including those that no longer exist.

The construction of the landmark All Saints Anglican church on Macquarie Street, South Hobart began in 1858. It is of an early English Gothic design by architect Henry Hunter. Hunter also designed the church’s Sunday school which was completed in 1877.

The cost of the Sunday school building, which amounted to £1000, was borne by Alfred Kennerley, a wealthy businessman, philanthropist and premier of Tasmania (1873-1876). Kennerley, and his wife Jane, were staunch supporter of the Church of England. Kennerley made a significant contribution towards the extensions made to All Saint’s Church in the 1870s. Mrs Kennerley had a strong interest in the Sunday School as well as as The Kennerley Boys' Home in West Hobart, which the couple founded in 1869. The extensive charitable work undertaken by Jane Kennerley was acknowledged at the time of her death in May 1877:

“Mrs. Kennerley will be sadly missed by many poor families in this city, and her death will leave a blank in connection with many of our leading charities that will not be readily filled up. The Boys' Home in particular has received her constant attention, and scarcely a week passed without her visiting that institution and personally exerting herself to secure the comfort of the inmates, many of whom she frequently invited to her own house to do trifling work about the place, an invitation which, we need hardly say, was regarded by the boys themselves as a welcome treat. In connection with All Saints' Church she has for many years taken an active part in every good work that she could possibly assist and lately but has shown considerable interest in the erection of the new schools at All Saints', which are the munificent gift to that church of Mr. Kennerley. To him she has been the cherished companion and adviser for many long years in almost all such undertakings, particularly where the good of others was to be effected…”.

In honour of Jane Kennerley, the scholars and teachers of All Saints’ Sunday school erected a plaque in remembrance of her work:

“Soon after the death of the late Mrs Kennerley…it seemed most fitting to some, who had long known and admired the earnest but un-ostentatious well-doing of her life, to make some memorial by which her goodness should be called to the remembrance of those who might either now or in after, time enjoy the benefit of her generous labours. This has been done by placing a tablet on the walls of the school-room, which was the last outward expression of her good-will, more especially to the children of the parish. It will be sufficient proof of the value of this gift to say that the number of children attending the school has increased by nearly one-half. The tablet is quiet and unpretentious in appearance, and so most suited to the character of her whose worth it will serve to call to mind. The following is the inscription: - This Tablet is erected by the Teachers and Scholars of All Saints Church Sunday-school, in grateful remembrance of Jane, wife of Alfred Kennerley, who worked in the parish for 20 years with unwearied zeal and generosity, and to whose unselfish life and loving forethought this Schoolroom bears witness”.

The Sunday school, which is remarkably well preserved, now houses 'The Jesse Tree', All Saints Parish Op-Shop.

Note Jane Kennerley:

Jane Kennerley (nee Rouse) was born in Parramatta and in 1834 married Alfred Kennerley (1810-1897) who, like Jane's father, owned large amounts of land in western Sydney and on the Cudgegong River. The couple spent some time in England and then returned to Sydney where Kennerley returned to farming at his property, Bringelly. They moved to Hobart in the 1850s where Kennerley became a magistrate and was elected to the Legislative Council. He served as Mayor of Hobart twice (1862-63 and 1871-72) and was Premier of Tasmania from 1873 to 1876. Jane's marriage to Kennerley was childless.

Mrs Jane Kennerley - National Portrait Gallery 

Alfred Kennerley - Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office


Weekly Examiner, Saturday 3 May 1877, page 16
The Mercury, Saturday 5 May 1877, page 2
Tribune, Monday 7 May 1877, page 2
Mercury, Monday 3 September 1877, page 2


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