No. 1246 - Sandy Bay - St Matthias' Church Hall (1889-1921)

Sandy Bay is a southern suburb of Hobart. It is believed that it was given its name by the Reverend Robert Knopwood while he was out on the Derwent on a whaling excursion. The northern half of Sandy Bay was briefly known as Queenborough between 1859 and 1878.

Originally known as the Queenborough Church Hall, the building was renamed St Matthias’ Church Hall in 1911. The hall, which fell within St George’s parish, was officially opened on Sunday 24th February 1889 by Reverend Canon G. Banks-Smith. The hall was also used as a public facility until 1911.

In 1911 the hall was enlarged and renovated while plans were made to build a new church on land alongside the old building. However, the construction of a new church did not proceed due to the opening of St Peter’s Anglican church on nearby Lord Street in 1918.

In August 1911 a report in the Mercury outlines the extent of the renovations made to the hall:

“Those present were shown the plans of the proposed additions to the hall. These provide for a temporary chancel divided from the hall by folding doors, and also retiring and vestry rooms. Messrs. Gillham Bros’, tender has been accepted, and they have started work, and hope to complete the building by the end of the month. Besides these additions, the ventilation is to be attended to, and the front of the hall renovated. For some time a men's working-bee has been at work pulling down the old fence in High-street and remodelling the approaches, building rustic stone walls, forming lawns and gardens. When all is completed these improvements should add to the appearance of the main street of Queenborough”.

After St Peter’s opened in 1918, St Matthias was used as a Sunday School until a new school hall was built on Grosvenor Street. In 1921 the St Matthias' was purchased by the Sandy Bay Baptist church which continues to use the building. The history of the building as a Baptist church will be the topic of a further article on 'Churches of Tasmania'.

St Matthias' Church Hall after the building's renovation (1911) - Tasmanian Mail

St Matthias' Church Hall is now a Baptist Church - photo: Duncan Grant


Mercury, Friday 4 August 1911, page 8
Tasmanian Mail, 31 August 1911, page 23
Daily Post, Thursday 7 December 1911, page 8
Daily Post, Saturday 3 February 1912, page 8
Mercury, Wednesday 17 July 1918, page 3
Mercury, Tuesday 11 October 1921, page 4


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