No. 1271 - Dover - Congregational Church Sunday School Hall (1904)

This article is one of a series about buildings associated with Tasmania’s historical churches and religious orders.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 basic record of these buildings, including buildings which no longer exist.

Dover is a small town on the Huon Highway approximately 80 kilometres south of Hobart. It was first settled in the 1850s. The original name for Dover was Port Esperance after one of the ships of the French Admiral Bruni D'Entrecasteaux.

Dover’s Congregational church opened in 1877. It was originally a Bethel or nondenominational church. In 1904 a Sunday school hall was built behind the church. The hall’s foundation stone was ceremonially laid by Mrs W. Davis in March 1904. The following report from Mercury describes the opening of the hall in June 1904:

“The new Congregational Sunday school building at Dover was opened by a tea meeting and entertainment on July 27. A large number sat down to tea, and appeared to appreciate the good things liberally supplied by kind friends, the bachelors giving money instead of provisions. Thus all the money received for admission was a net profit, and considerably helped the building fund”.

“The building is very substantial, standing upon a stone foundation, and roofed with iron. It is not yet lined but will be used as it is for the present, and as soon as funds will allow the finishing stroke will be given. It will then be very comfortable and roomy. It is at present the largest room in the district, capable of holding about 250 people. Seats have been already provided for 164 adults, and would accommodate about 185 adults and children”.

“At the entertainment which followed the tea, the seats proved too few. A good programme was presented, and some of the solos and recitations were above ordinary merit. We were all sorry that circumstances prevented the Rev. F. A. Woods, of Geeveston, and Mrs. Woods from being with us. He sent hearty congratulations at our having made such progress as to be able to erect the building, and wished us prosperity. A kindly offer was made by the rev. gentleman to give a lecture in aid of the building fund at an early date, which offer the committee and gladly accept….”.

“A brief financial statement was made by the secretary of the building committee as follows: From various sources, such as exhibitions, harvest festivals and subscriptions, the sum of £88 had been raised, and £75 had been borrowed from the loan fund of the Congregational Union to be repaid in instalments of not less than £20 a year. With the money raised and the loan above mentioned, the whole cost of the building had been met, and a sum of £15 16s. was still to our credit in the Savings Bank, so that the only liability existing is the loan of £75”.

“A comprehensive vote of thanks was moved by Mr. McIntosh Brown, superintendent of the Sunday school, to all who helped in any way to make the opening demonstration such a decided success. The vote was seconded by Mr. Killingback, and carried unanimously. After the singing of the doxology an enjoyable demonstration was brought to a close”.

The Sunday school hall was sold in 2010. The church is still in use.

The Congregational Church Hall and Sunday School - Google Streetview

The laying of the foundation stone of the hall in March 1904. The Congregational church can be seen in the background. Photograph: Weekly Courier


Weekly Courier, Saturday 19 March 1904, page 18
Mercury, Saturday 6 August 1904, page 7


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