No. 1240 - Hobart - Holy Trinity Sunday School and Parish Hall

This article is one of a series about buildings associated with Tasmania’s historical 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.

Holy Trinity Anglican church was designed in the Gothic Revival style by James Blackburn. The church was built with the use of convict labour. The foundation stone was laid on Wednesday 20 October 1841 by Lieutenant-Governor Sir John Franklin.

Holy Trinity Parish once had four Sunday schools including the Campbell Street school and the Church Street school below Holy Trinity church. Once a month children attended Holy Trinity for a service on Sunday afternoon. Each Sunday, there was two sessions of teaching held at the schools. A service was also held in the Church Street Parish Hall (which doubled as a classroom) for parishioners who did not want to worship at the church.

From the 1850s Sunday School enrolments gradually increased and in 1891 a branch Sunday School was opened in the Ware Street Mission Room. By 1894, enrolments in the two main Sunday Schools reached 500. An additional classroom was built at the Church Street Sunday school to relieve overcrowding. The extension, designed by architect George Fagg, was also used during the week for various parish meetings.

The Mercury published a report on the ceremonial laying of the foundation stone on 30 June 1894:

“On Saturday afternoon the foundation stone of the new wing to the Trinity Sunday schools was laid by Mrs. G. W. Shoobridge, wife of the incumbent….Unfortunately, Bishop Montgomery was unable to be present to lay the stone, as he was detained in the Straits Islands, but it was with very great pleasure that Mrs. Shoobridge complied with expressed wishes that she should perform the ceremony. ….In addition to the present accomodation which was not now sufficient, there was to be a classroom. Quarters were to be built for the verger, so that someone would be on the spot to protect the buildings from injury. Then the parish sadly needed a room to hold meetings in, as a lady who for years had given up her rooms for this purpose was leaving the parish, and it was necessary to have rooms in which smaller meetings could be held on week-day evenings if the work of the parish was to be kept going in a healthy way”.

“Eighteen years ago the school commenced with 13 children; now, taking the two schools together, there were some 400 in Trinity and 100 in Ware Street school….It had been said that the work should not have been undertaken in "these bad times," but the Parish Council had very carefully considered the matter, and they considered the present time most opportune to undertake the work. It was to cost £500; of that £350 was borrowed… The contractors, Messrs. Cooper Bros., had kindly allowed £150 to remain at the rate of 5 per cent, for three years, so that it could not be said that the parish was needlessly running into debt…”.

In 1918 a second brick extension was added to the school. The Mercury reported:

“His Excellency the Governor, who was accompanied by Lady Newdegate, yesterday afternoon laid the memorial stone in the new building being erected and additions to the parish-room and Sunday and day schools attached to Holy Trinity Church. The addition will greatly increase the present accommodation for parish meetings and school purposes. The erection is to be brick, with a hardwood roof to be covered with shingles, other material for the purpose being practically unobtainable at reasonable cost. The additions will accommodate 350 people and about 200 children in the classrooms, including a kindergarten section, the cost being close upon £1,700, and are to be completed by the end of March, the contractors being Messrs. Gillham Bros., and the architects Messrs. Heyward and Smith”.

Holy Trinity Sunday school continued to function until the 1970s. After the building was sold it was subdivided into three townhouses.

photograph: Knight Frank Real Estate

The 1918 Sunday school extension at the rear of the original building. Photographer: Colin Chick

The memorial foundation stone on the rear extension of the original building

The memorial foundation stone marking George Fagg's extension made in 1894

Holy Trinity with the Sunday school on the far right and above the Presbyterian cemetery. Source: TAHO: NS6904-1-84 2

A view of the Sunday school from Holy Trinity tower - source: TAHO: NS2960-2-3

Architect George Fagg's drawings for the 1894 extensions. Source: TAHO: NS373-1-417

The Sunday School in 1899 - Tasmanian Mail


Mercury, Monday 2 July 1894, page 2
Mercury, Thursday 21 May 1896, page 3
Mercury, Thursday 22 May 1896, page 3
Tasmanian Mail, 2 September 1899, page 19
Mercury, Tuesday 29 January 1918, page 6
Mercury, Monday 28 May 1923, page 3

Patricia Graham; Church and Community: The Changing Social Role of Holy Trinity Church in Hobart, 1833-1945, University of Tasmania (2015)


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