No. 1346 - Sandy Bay - Wellspring (St Peter's) Anglican Church (1918)

This year marks the 160th anniversary of the opening of the Mariners' Church on Hobart's waterfront. In 1917 the church was dismantled and rebuilt at Sandy Bay where it was dedicated to St Peter. The history of Mariners Church can be found on this link: [No. 1302] The focus of this article is on the establishment of St Peter’s at Sandy Bay.

The subdivision of the Sandy Bay Golf links into 270 housing lots between 1915 and 1922 resulted in a significant population increase in the suburb. St Matthias’ Anglican church on Sandy Bay Road could no longer accommodate a growing congregation and plans were made to build a new church on land alongside the old church. The acquisition of a site on Lord Street and an opportunity to purchase the Mariners Church resulted in the sale of St Matthias’ to the Baptist Church. [see No. 1246]

The removal and reconstruction of the Mariners Church at Lord Street was described in a report in the Hobart Mercury in February 1918:

“On Saturday afternoon, in warm, sunny weather, there was a large gathering at the laying of the foundation-stone by His Excellency the Governor of a new Anglican church in Lord-street, Sandy Bay. It is, in fact, to be a re-erection of the old Mariners' Church, removed from the Hobart Wharf, it having been purchased for that purpose at the instance of the rector of St. George's (Rev. Donald Baker)….When re-erected, it will be called the Church of St. Peter's. The purchase was effected from the Marine Board, for £50, which sum was generously given for the purpose by Mr. and Mrs. E. H. Pearce. The stone was carted to the new site, one of the golf links estate allotments. The supply of stone will prove sufficient for re-erection, excepting that part of one sidewall will be of brick, it is hoped that at some future date funds will permit to increase the accommodation from about 200 to 500 people by adding two transepts and substituting a new chancel, with a Sunday schoolroom as a separate building”.

“The architect is Mr. Clive Lord. Messrs. Gilham Bros, the contractors, with Mr. E. Slevin clerk of works; the contract price for removal of the old church and re-erection being £1,150, exclusive of the cost of new seatings and fittings, towards which a lectern has been promised by Mr. Clive Lord, and the contract is to be completed by the 1st July next. The foundation or memorial stone was laid at the western angle of the building with a vacuum beneath it, into which were deposited the papers, etc., found under the memorial stone of the church as it stood at the bottom of Elizabeth-street….”.

“His Excellency, in performing the ceremony of laying the stone used a silver trowel (bearing an inscription) and mallet, the mallet and trowel handle having been made out of wood taken out of the old Mariners' Church, and were presented to him by the architect in a handsome case. After the ceremony, afternoon tea was served under a spacious tent on the ground by the wives of the building committee…”.

The Church of St Peter dedicated and opened in July 1918.

The purchase of the Mariners Church by Mr and Mrs Pearce was a gesture in memory of their son, 2nd Lt Clyde Bowman Pearce, who was killed in action at Messines in 1917. The location of St Peter’s near the former Sandy Bay golf links was a fitting memorial as the young Pearce had been a talented golfer and in 1908 was the first Australian born man to win the Australian Open.

The plan to build St Peter’s transepts did not eventuate however the church’s vestry was rebuilt and enlarged in 1970. A Sunday School and Parish Hall was built alongside the church in 1924.

St Peter’s was renamed Wellspring Anglican Church following the merger of three evangelical Anglican churches in Hobart to create a single modern church. A consequence of the merger was the creation of the new parish of BayWest in 1998 combining Sandy Bay and West Hobart parishes.

The Sunday School and Parish Hall

The Weekly Courier


Mercury, Monday 4 February 1918, page 6
World, Wednesday 17 July 1918, page 6

Henslowe, Dorothea I. and Hurburgh, Isa.  Our heritage of Anglican churches in Tasmania / by Dorothea I. Henslowe ; sketches by Isa Hurburgh  [S.l  1978


  1. For information about the organ in this church, please refer to


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