No. 1279 - Pyengana - Methodist Church (1905-1935)
Pyengana is a dairy farming district approximately 30 kilometres west of St. Helens in Tasmania’s North East. The district was previously known as Upper Georges River. Settlement began when George and Margaret Cotton established a property called St Columba in 1875. Before the 20th century Pyengana enjoyed significant growth as a result of tin mining activity. A butter factory was established in the 1890s followed by a cooperative cheese factory in 1902.
Three churches were were established at Pyengana: a Catholic church, St Augustine’s, which opened in 1923; an Anglican church, St Michael and All Angels', established in 1894, and a Methodist church in 1905.
Methodist services were first held in the Pyengana State School. In 1905 a disused Methodist church was removed from nearby Goulds Country to Pyengana. In September 1905 the building’s removal to a site near the old post office was reported by the Launceston Examiner:
“The residents of this district are pushing forward matters in connection with the removal of the Gould's Country Methodist Church to a site directly opposite the Post Office, kindly given by Mrs. Wm. Terry, sen. Most of the money to cover the cost of removal, etc., is already to hand. The people of this place are very fortunate in securing such a fine building. It seats 170, and has many extras, such as organ, seats, bell, etc. Great credit is due to Mr. Gooday, the Methodist missionary, for the way he has worked to secure the building, also to Mr. A. Becker for collecting. We hope soon to have the building removed and opened, when services will be regularly held in it instead of the state school. The contractor is expected to start work next Monday”.
The church was officially reopened on Sunday 26 November 1905. The Examiner reported:
“The residents of Pyengana district have cause to be pleased with their new Methodist Church, which is now an accomplished fact. The opening services were preached by the Rev. G. Moore, of Lilydale, assisted by the minister of this circuit, to a large and appreciative congregation. On Wednesday evening a tea meeting and sacred concert were held in aid of the building fund, which was well attended”.
The church was active for almost 30 years before declining numbers resulted in its permanent closure. In 1935 the church was sold to Mr John Joseph Healey who removed the building for use as a barn. The church was lost in a fire in February 1939. The Examiner reported:
“Residents were startled on Friday evening about 9.30 to see bright flames shooting up from the direction of Mr. J. Healey's property. A number of people rushed to the scene, to find a building containing some tons of hay burning fiercely, but owing to the inflammable nature of the building and contents, nothing could be done, and all was totally destroyed. The building, formerly a Methodist Church, was moved to Pyengana from Gould's Country over 30 years ago. About four years ago, owing to insufficient support, it was sold to Mr. Healey and used as a barn. The origin of the fire is a mystery, there being no bush fire near at the time. It is understood that the building and contents were insured”.
No photograph of the church exists in the public domain but I am hopeful that one will come to light.
|Examiner, 2 December 1905|
Examiner, Friday 8 September 1905, page 3
Examiner, Thursday 16 November 1905, page 7
Examiner, Saturday 2 December 1905, page 5
Examiner, Wednesday 31 January 1906, page 7
Advocate, Wednesday 30 October 1935, page 2
Examiner, Tuesday 7 February 1939, page 3
Webb, Gwen. Pyengana : A new country / Gwen Webb G. Webb, Tasmania 1975