No. 1272 - Sandy Bay - Church of the Holy Ghost and Pentecost Hall (1934)

Sandy Bay is a southern suburb of Hobart. The northern half of Sandy Bay was known as Queenborough between the years 1859 and 1878.

This articles is about the first Catholic church at Upper Sandy Bay. It was built in 1934 as a temporary church that doubled as a community hall. It was known a Pentecost Hall which incorporated the Church of the Holy Ghost. In the 1950s and 1990s the building was effectively rebuilt and enlarged and it is now known as the Church of the Holy Spirit. Another article on the new modern church will be posted on the blog.

New Catholic Parish of Sandy Bay established in January 1934 and in the same year construction of a combined church hall began. The building’s foundation stone was ceremonially laid on Sunday 20 May: The Mercury reported:

“The ceremony of laying the foundation stone of a new church hall, to be known as Pentecost Hall took place yesterday morning at Sandy Bay. The Archbishop of Hobart (Most Rev. Dr. W. Hayden) presided at the Mass at 11 a.m. in the temporary church [which had been erected alongside the construction site]. There was a large congregation. The altar was decorated with red flowers and candles. At the conclusion of the Mass which was celebrated by the Rev Father Barry a procession was formed. Led by the cross bearer it proceeded to the site in Duke Street near High Street. The Archbishop then performed the ceremony of blessing the stone which bears the following inscription: This tablet, to commemorate the creation of this parish of the Holy Ghost on January 28, 1934 and the commencement of this Pentecost Hall, was placed in position by His Grace, the Most Rev William Hayden, D.D., Archbishop of Hobart, on Pentecost Sunday, May 20, 1934-Pius XI, Pope: Rev. Thomas Joseph O’Donnell Parish Priest, Mr. G. R. Robinson, architect.”

The report went on to describe the building:

“The new hall is in course of erection. It will be a handsome building to the design of Mr. G. R. Robinson, architect, of Collins Street. The main hall will be 52ft. long by 40ft. wide. There will be a sanctuary 15ft. by 12ft., a chapel 20ft. by 12ft., and a sacristy 12ft. by 12ft. Along the eastern side of the building a verandah 65ft. long will be erected. Dressing rooms for men and women will be provided. The hall will probably be completed in August. It is being constructed by day labour under the supervision of Mr. C. R. Denholm, builder, of New Town".

The church and hall was officially opened and dedicated on Sunday 18 November 1934:

“In the presence of a large congregation, the solemn blessing and dedication of the Church of the Holy Ghost in the now parish at Sandy Bay was performed by the Archbishop of Hobart (Dr. W. Hayden) this afternoon. The building of the new hall and church combined in the new parish was begun when Father T. O’Donnell was appointed first parish priest and has now been completed at a total cost, together with the land, of approximately £5000.. This afternoon the hall was beautifully decorated for the ceremony, which was attended by a number of priests from adjoining parishes,…Father O'Donnell, in the course of an address, said that…. they had at present a temporary church to be used also as a hall, and he hoped that from that modest beginning would come the development of a parish with convents and schools and a magnificent church….”.

The hall had in fact been in use for almost 6 weeks before the building was dedicated. In September the Mercury reported on the first function held on Wednesday 26 September:

“The newly erected Pentecost Hall….was used for the first time on Wednesday night, when a dance was held. In spite of the inclement weather there was a large attendance. The hall was much admired for its beauty. It is large, having an area of over 2,000 square feet… The floor, which had received special treatment, was in first-class order, and the dancers stated that it was excellent. The music was provided by Don Wilson’s orchestra, and was much enjoyed”.

While the building was large, modern and functional, it was always the intention that a “permanent” church would be built in the future.

Pentecost Hall and the Church of the Holy Ghost - Photo: Catholic Archdiocese of Hobart

The memorial foundation stone is preserved in the new church.

The Mercury September 1934


Mercury, Monday 2 April 1934, page 3
Examiner, Monday 21 May 1934, page 8
Mercury, Monday 21 May 1934, page 3
Mercury, Monday 24 September 1934, page 8
Mercury, Saturday 29 September 1934, page 7
Advocate, Monday 19 November 1934, page 2
Examiner, Monday 19 November 1934, page 12

Southerwood, W. T. Planting a faith : Hobart's Catholic story in word and picture / [by] W. T. Southerwood [Hobart] 1970


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