No. 1247 - Kettering - The Union Church (1900-1967)

Kettering is a small town on the Channel Highway approximately 35 kilometres south of Hobart. It was originally named Little Oyster Cove before being renamed Kettering.

Kettering’s Union Church was one of more than a dozen churches destroyed in the 1967 bushfires which swept across southern Tasmania. The church, which was built in 1900, replaced an older church that had previously been used as a school.

The original church had been established by Matthew Holmes:

“[He]…was the first schoolmaster, and… the first to hold regular religious services here. It was mainly owing to his endeavours that the old school building (now used as a church) was erected, and he was one of the trustees of the building until his death [in 1893]”.

Plans to replace the old church got underway in 1897:

“A movement is afoot here to obtain a sufficient sum of money to erect a church, or, failing that, to have necessary alterations to the old building effected to make it more fitted for a place of worship and provide more room, as it is often impossible to seat all who attend the services…”.

In April 1900 a tender to construct a new church was advertised and on Friday 9th November the completed building was officially opened. The Mercury’s country correspondent reported:

“The opening of the new church at Kettering on the 9th inst. passed off very successfully, in spite of unfavourable weather. The steamship Taranna, under charter, arrived from Hobart at 11.30. with a fair number of passengers on board. At 12 o'clock a sumptuous lunch was served in the hall, lasting till 2 p.m. The tables were presided over by the following ladies, all members of the Ladies’ Church Committee -Hughes (3), Beckman, and Jones, who, with their numerous assistants, made things very lively and pleasant. Both the serving and what was served were all that could be desired”.

“At 2.30 those who thought the opening of the church of more interest than the cricket match wended their way to the building. It is a compact, neat, structure, facing north, which makes it much lighter during the day than facing the usual east. The shell was erected by Mr. E. W. Tew, of Sandfly, the lining was done free by local residents, under the direction of Mr. G. E. Hughes. Mr. J. Kennedy, of Hobart, varnished and grained the doors, etc., free. The committee thank those gentlemen for their good work and generosity, also all other friends who assisted in all sorts of ways too numerous to mention”.

“The opening ceremony having been performed by the Rev. H. H. Teague, assisted by the Rev. J. Ebery, of Port Esperance, the hall was again visited for afternoon tea, after which various votes of thanks were passed, and the Rev. Adamson, chairman of the Victorian and Tasmanian [Methodist] Conference, gave us a few well chosen words. We were glad to see Dr. J. Crowther amongst us for a short time. The collection at the church and in the hall amounted between £9 and £10. During the day Mr. Crawford photographed both the old and the new building”.


The new Union church was used by Methodist and Anglican congregations for over 60 years. After the church was lost in the 1967 fires, it was replaced by a new non-denominational church in 1969 which included the Catholic community.

Kettering Union Church (undated) Photograph supplied by Gary Chadwick

A detail from a photograph of Kettering looking south (c.1912) with the Union Church circled in the foreground - Tasmanian State Archive - Photographer: C.P. Ray




A view of Kettering looking south (c.1912) - Tasmanian State Archive - Photographer: C.P. Ray


Sources:



Mercury, Thursday 24 February 1887, page 4
Mercury, Tuesday 4 July 1893, page 3
Mercury, Thursday 19 August 1897, page 3
Mercury, Tuesday 10 April 1900, page 3
Mercury, Tuesday 20 November 1900, page 4


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