No. 1254 - Jetsonville - Tasmania's Smallest Church?

This post is a little different from the usual in that the building at Jetsonville was never a functioning church. However it does raise the question: What was the smallest functioning church ever built in Tasmania?

Perhaps the title of Tasmania’s smallest “church” might be awarded to a tiny wooden chapel on a private property at Jetsonville, near Scottsdale. The chapel was the work of Johannes Elgersma who was inspired by a small church he visited at Alberta, Canada. Johannes’ design is loosely based on a much larger church at Fryslan in the Netherlands.

The project came about when a neighbour had to take down a 100 year old tree. With four leftover pieces of timber measuring 19ft, Johannes was reluctant to cut them up and decided to build a tower in his garage. The door with its frame comes from an old Presbyterian church at Mirboo North, Victoria.

While the local Scottsdale minister was keen to press the building into service, the tiny chapel has yet to used for any religious purposes. When Johannes moved to Poatina, he was keen to take the chapel with him but this was not to be and the building remains at Jetsonville. Perhaps the little chapel will still find its purpose as a functioning church?

If only functioning churches are to be considered for the title of smallest church, it would probably be awarded to a Methodist church built at Breadalbane. A small weatherboard church built by voluntary labour was officially opened on Saturday 25 September 1948. The church was considered to be the smallest in Tasmania at the time. By the 1970s it had a congregation of only three.

Thank you to Johannes Elgersma for providing the photographs and the details of this unique building which might be considered Tasmania’s smallest chapel?

The church built by Johannes Elgersma. Its floor dimension are 2 x3 metres. 

The interior of the church with pulpit and seating.

The church Fryslan in the Netherlands on which the tiny church is loosely designed. photo: Wiki commons.

The tiny church at Drumheller, Alberta, which inspired Johannes Elgersma to build his church. Photo:

The Methodist church at Breadalbane which is no longer standing. Photo: Don Bramich (1987)


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