No. 1331 - Golden Valley - Baptist Church

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.

Golden Valley is a rural area located approximately 16 kilometres south of Deloraine on the northeastern side of Quamby Bluff. The name “Golden Valley” appears to have been in use from the 1860s and a school was built there in the 1870s.

Golden Valley formed part of the Deloraine Baptist circuit which had churches at Quamby Brook, Montana and Meander. A Baptist church was never built at Golden Valley and instead the State school was used as a place of worship for many years.

In the 1920s Baptist services were first held at the home of the Quinn family where a Sunday school was also established. From the early 1930s Reverend Britton held regular services at the Golden Valley State school. Reverend Holloway recounts:

“He started with a push bike to travel to Golden Valley…[and] progressed to a horse and cart and then to a “T” model Ford. The change from a horse to car brought some amusement for many locals because he used to rock himself forward in the car going up hills and sit way back in the seat when wanting to stop”.

Given the rough terrain and snow bound winters, visiting Baptist ministers would regularly have to be accommodated at local homes.

In 1947 the Education Department decided that the schools at Golden Valley and Quamby Brook “had outlived their usefulness” and representations were made by locals for the school buildings to be retained as community and social centres. However, the government decided against selling the schools and instead moved the buildings to the ‘area school’ at Deloraine “because it would cost more to erect new buildings at Deloraine than to re-erect the old schools”.

The removal of the Golden Valley school brought to an end regular Baptist services. A miniature organ which had been purchased by Reverend Britton is on permanent loan to the Deloraine Museum.

The closure of the school did not entirely end the Baptist’s presence at Golden Valley for in the 1960s the Baptist Union of Tasmania established ‘Camp Quamby’ as a youth camp and also for Baptist community activities. This operated for about 30 years before its closure.

The Golden Valley School c.1930. The building in the photograph replaced the original school in 1907. In 1939 the school was once again 'rebuilt'. It was removed to Deloraine in the late 1940s. Photo: Libraries Tasmania - Object No: AA375-1-84


Daily Telegraph, Tuesday 30 July 1907, page 7
Examiner, Wednesday 8 February 1933, page 5
Examiner, Friday 7 April 1939, page 11
The Mercury, Tuesday 2 April 1940, page 7
Saturday Evening Express, Saturday 25 July 1947, page 7
Advocate, Tuesday 4 February 1947, page 4
Western Tiers, Friday 24 August 1984, page 3
Western Tiers, Tuesday 23 July 1996, page 24

Hemsley, Jennifer Around the country circuits : reminiscences of the Baptist Church family throughout "Tassie's top half". Regal Press, Launceston, Tas, 1996.


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