No. 1330 - Golconda - Anglican Church (c.1908-1938)

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.

Golconda is rural area in Tasmania’s North East which is associated with the nearby Golconda gold reef and diggings. A settlement developed approximately18 kilometres north of Lilydale at the junction of Golconda Road and Ferny Hill Road. A small railway station on the North-East Line attracted the development of a small settlement which became known as Golconda. The name relates to an ancient and now ruined fort city in India famous for its diamonds. Before the name Golconda was was adopted the district was known as “Wiangata”, an aboriginal word for ‘flesh’ or ‘meat’.

By the early 1890s Golconda had a railway station, post office, general store and a hotel. The settlement later acquired a school (1897) and a public hall (1914). A church was never built but the small Anglican community used the local school as a place of worship over a period of 30 years.

The earliest reference to the Anglican activity at Golconda dates to February 1909 with a brief report in the Daily Telegraph regarding a Sunday school anniversary:

“Rev. Ashcroft delivered an interesting and instructive address, and afterwards presented the children’s prizes, which were a splendid collection. Rev. Ashcroft was then asked by the children to present their teacher, Miss Davis, with a pair of silver serviette rings, as a token of their love and esteem for her”.

In 1911 Miss Davis departed Golconda, with her farewell reported by the Launceston Examiner:

“On Friday evening a farewell social was tendered by the members of the Golconda Anglican congregation to Miss Ada Davis, who for some years past has been the superintendent of the Sunday school. The vicar (Rev. G. Rowe, B.A.) occupied the chair….Mr M’Ewan spoke of the good work accomplished by Miss Davis. He remarked that her record was in keeping with the good work done for the church by her father and brothers. The chairman then presented Miss Davis with a silver-backed hairbrush, hand-mirror, and a very handsome bag….”.

Over the next decade there are numerous reports of Anglican services held in the schoolroom. In March 1918 the Daily Telegraph reported:

“Last Sunday week, during the service at the Anglican Church, Golconda, a roll of honour for that district was unveiled by the Rev. Greenwood. Suitable hymns and the National Anthem were sung. The roll of honour, which was purchased with part of the proceeds of a fair held by Golconda and Ferny Hill State schools, bears the names of the following soldiers: Troopers K. Jones and V. Jones; Driver W. Parsons; Privates A. Pearton; W. Jones; M. Ferguson; C. Cook; Gunner G. Lyons; and Corporal G. Fulbrook….”.

In May 1924 the North Eastern Advertiser reported:

“On Sunday last the harvest festival of the Anglican Church was held in the Golconda State School. The Rev. A.S. Drewett, of Lilydale, conducted the service and gave an interesting address suitable to the occasion…”.

After 1924 the record falls silent until August 1938 when a report in the Examiner provides the reason for this:

“For the first time in approximately 15 years a Church of England service was conducted in the State school at Golconda on Sunday afternoon. Rev. Dando, of Lilydale, officiated. There was a good congregation. Mrs. A. Pearton presided at the organ”.

No further record of church activity at Golconda appear and it is probable that after this date services were held at St John’s Mission Hall at nearby Nabowla.

Golconda State school which was used for Anglican services over a period of 30 years. Photograph: Margaret Tassell (1991)


Daily Telegraph, Wednesday 24 February 1909, page 7
Examiner, Monday 6 March 1911, page 5
Daily Telegraph, Monday 25 November 1912, page 3
Daily Telegraph, Thursday 7 March 1918, page 2
North Eastern Advertiser, Friday 16 May 1924, page 3
Examiner, Tuesday 2 August 1938, page 8


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