No. 1294 - Goshen - Methodist Church (c.1905 - c.1940)

This article is one in a series about public buildings in country areas that were used as places of worship. In these communities churches may have been planned but were never built due to lack of finance or changed circumstances. In most settlements, before a church was built, worship was typically held in homes, schoolrooms, barns, halls and other buildings. Conversely, in some communities, churches were sometimes the first public building erected and were used as schools and community halls. The focus of this series will primarily be on the public halls and schools that were used as churches. These buildings, and the religious communities which used them, are often overlooked in published histories of churches.

Goshen is a small settlement on the Tasman Highway approximately 15 kilometres west of St.Helens. Goshen is a Biblical name and means ‘land of plenty’.

Goshen’s Methodist church functioned between from about 1905 until the early 1940s. For most of this time services were held in the State school which was built in 1901. The school’s closure in the mid 1940s was a likely reason for the end of formal Methodist services at Goshen.

Like so many other churches across Tasmania, Goshen's church maintained annual rituals such Easter and Christmas services, harvest festivals, bazaars and fundraising to assist with upkeep, missionary work and for the support of charities.

The first report of the church appears in an article published in 1906 by Launceston’s Daily Telegraph:

“The bazaar organised by Mrs W. Nisbet, Mrs J. Bidgood, Mrs J. Treloggen, Mrs John M'Auliffe, and Miss A. Richards for the purpose of raising the necessary funds to provide the Goshen Church with an organ exceeded the anticipations of the promoters, and no less than £21 was taken, which will enable the committee to purchase an up-to-date instrument. The bazaar was opened at 7 p.m. on Saturday in the presence or a crowded attendance….”.

The church’s activities rarely received coverage in Launceston’s newspapers. Some of these reports are reproduced below and these provide a glimpse into the religious life of Goshen’s Methodists.

In April 1914 The Daily Telegraph reported:

“On Saturday night last a successful sale of gifts was held in connection with the Methodist Church at Goshen. The State school room was crowded, and the proceeds reached the amount of £3. Advantage was taken to say goodbye to Mr J. C. Brown, the local missionary who has laboured in the district for the past four years, and who has also held the position of teacher at Goshen in connection with the local subsidised school. The residents presented him with an illuminated address expressing kindly feeling and good wishes for his future prospects and those of Mrs Brown. This has been creditably drawn by Mr W. Fitzgerald, of Gould's Country. The children also expressed their appreciation of Mrs Brown in an illuminated address, which had been drawn by Miss Eva Treloggen. Mrs Brown presented each of the children of her Sunday school with a beautifully inscribed card….”.

In April 1928 the country correspondent for the Examiner reported:

“The annual harvest festival was held at the Goshen Methodist Church on Sunday last. The building had been decorated with flowers, hay, berries, and vegetables. At the singing of the 'first hymn, "Bringing in the Sheaves," the Sunday School children walked slowly through the building carrying a sheaf. It was most impressive. The organist was accompanied by Mr. Nesbit with a violin. The usual sale of gifts was attended by a record crowd of people on Monday evening. Before the gifts were auctioned by Mr. R. Riley, a programme of songs, and recitations was given by the school children, who had been trained by Misses J. Brook and Nesbit. Supper was served by the ladies of the congregation. The missionary was grateful to those who took such an active part in this effort….”.

Further reports of harvest festivals in 1928 and 1933 were published by the Examiner. In March 1933:

“A harvest thanksgiving service was held in the Methodist Church, Goshen, on Sunday evening, conducted by Mr. Knowles, of St. Helens. The church was nicely decorated, and there was a good display of fruit, vegetables, and sheaves. Special harvest hymns were sung. Miss Nisbet presided at the organ, assisted by her father with the violin. On Tuesday evening a social was held in the schoolroom, presided over by Rev. Pullen. During the evening the produce was sold by auction, and the result was most satisfactory”.

The last published report of the church dates to April 1940 with a brief report in Launceston’s Examiner which mentions harvest festivals held at Methodist churches at St Helens, Priory and Goshen.

The Goshen school closed temporarily in the early 1940s before closing permanently around 1947. The school still stands with the building converted into a house.

Goshen State school. Built in 1900 and used as a Methodist church for about 40 years. The building is now a house. Photo: Google 'street-view' 


The Mercury, Saturday 3 November 1900, page 5
Daily Telegraph, Thursday 4 October 1906, page 6
Daily Telegraph, Thursday 2 April 1914, page 8
Examiner, Tuesday 3 April 1928, page 8
Examiner, Monday 17 March 1930, page 5
Examiner, Saturday 25 March 1933, page 5
Examiner, Monday 22 April 1940, page 5


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