No. 1336 - St Helens - St Paul's Parish Hall and Sunday School (1908)

This article is one of a series about buildings associated with Tasmania’s historical churches and religious orders. These buildings include Sunday schools, parish halls, convents, orphanages, schools and residences of the clergy. Ancillary buildings are often overlooked and rarely feature in published histories. My aim is to create a basic record of these buildings, including of those that no longer exist.

St Helens is the largest town on Tasmania’s east coast. It was established as a fishing village and whaling station in the 1830s. When tin was discovered in the hinterland in the 1870s, St Helens was developed as a port for the mines. In the 19th century the St Helens district was also known as Georges Bay.

St Paul’s Anglican church opened in 1886 replacing and earlier church which stood on the outskirts of the town. In 1908 a parish hall a Sunday school was built behind the new church on Cecilia Street. I have only come across a single account describing the hall’s opening on 29 January 1908.

"The opening of the new parish hall and Sunday-school by the members of the Anglican Church at St. Helen's, was celebrated on Wednesday last by the holding of a social, which was attended by the vicar, (the Rev. Clement Allen), Mr C. Miller, and Dr. Penny (churchwardens), Messrs. H. Dawson, E. H. Fowell, and W. P. Kirwan, and a very large number of the residents, the building being completely filled. The structure itself, which does credit to the community, is very substantially built of hardwood, roofed with iron, measures forty feet by twenty feet, with a height of twelve feet to the eaves, and occupies a convenient situation on a part of the land attached to St. Paul's Church. Internally the appearance of the hall is much enhanced by a high dado of selected hardwoods. The roof is an open one, and the building is well warmed and lighted. On week nights it will be utilised for the purposes of a young men's club. It is satisfactory to learn that the hall was opened free from debt”.

While the 1908 weatherboard hall is largely unaltered the original building is now partly obscured by a more recent brick extension.


Daily Telegraph, Monday 3 February 1908, page 6

Burns, Peter. and Burns, Kathleen. and St. Paul's Anglican Church (St. Helens, Tas.). Centenary Year Committee. St. Paul's Anglican Church : the first 100 years P. and K. Burns] [St. Helens, Tas 1983


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