No. 1363 - Rocky Cape - St Aidan's Anglican Church (1908)

Rocky Cape is a rural settlement on the Bass Highway located about 30 kilometres north-west of Wynyard. The name Rocky Cape is taken from a prominent coastal feature described by Matthew Flinders in 1798.

St Aidan’s Anglican church was built and dedicated in 1908. It was located near the junction of Montumana Road and the Bass Highway. The church burnt down in the late 1980s and was not rebuilt. I have yet to locate a photograph of the church and I have used a photograph of the Rocky Cape public hall to illustrate this article. The hall was used for church functions for many years.

The ceremonial laying of the foundation stone of St Aidan’s took place on Friday 22 May 1908. The event was described in a report published by Launceston’s Daily Telegraph:

“Last Friday afternoon, the laying of the foundation stone of the new Anglican church was performed by Archdeacon Whitington….in the presence of a large assembly, the weather being most propitious for the occasion. The ceremony was carried out in a dignified manner, and the proceedings commenced with the singing of the hymn, ‘O God, our help in ages past,' while the Archdeacon, the rector (Rev. G. W. Ratten), and Rev. C. C. Macmichael, in solemn procession, took their positions near the stone, which is placed in the east end of the chancel….The Archdeacon then gave a splendid address, full of splendid advice, asking all to work harmoniously in the grand work of building a house of prayer and worship to the Author and Giver of all things. He was pleased with the choice of the rector , in the name St. Aidan, and gave the beautiful story connected with his life, in the early days of Christianity. He thanked the choir of the mother church in assisting their daughter, also Mrs James Boys for her gift of the building site, also the men who had given their time and energy in preparing the site, quarrying the stone, carting, etc., and said in after days they would be all pleased to know that they had helped to build it. Mrs A. J. Boys was also thanked for her valuable help in collecting donations, and the name of the first subscriber on the list, Mr Quiggin, who has since gone to his rest, was mentioned…. The offertory hymn was then sung, the creditable sum of £10 being placed on the stone, and the service concluded with the benediction.…”.

St Aidan’s was officially opened by Archdeacon Beresford on Sunday 1 November 1908. The Circular Head Chronicle reported:

“The grand processional hymn ‘The Church’s one Foundation’ was being heartily sung while the Archdeacon preceded by the rector of the parish solemnly entered the porch, passed up the aisle and took their positions near the font for the purpose of consecrating it as a baptism was to take place. After the beautiful prayer of consecration, the choir sang in a subdued tone the verse commencing with “We love the sacred font ” after which the rector read the prayers' and the Archdeacon the lessons. At the conclusion of the 2nd lesson, the infant daughter of Mr and Mrs Harry Medwin was baptised, both clergy taking a part, her name being Mary St. Aidan…”.

The church was a weatherboard building but no description of the building or of its dimensions are provided in contemporary reports. The building was constructed by ‘Messrs Ferguson and Ford’. At the time of the opening a prayer desk was donated by Mr H. G. Spicer, the Warden of the Municipality, a lectern was was donated by Mr H.F. Ford and a font by Mr H.W. Wells.

Rocky Cape Hall (c.1930) A photograph of St Aidan's has yet to be found. The hall was used for church functions over a number of years. Photo: Libraries Tasmania.


Sources:

Circular Head Chronicle, Wednesday 22 January 1908, page 2
Circular Head Chronicle, Wednesday 19 February 1908, page 2
Daily Telegraph, Thursday 28 May 1908, page 7
North Western Advocate and the Emu Bay Times, Thursday 28 May 1908, page 4
Circular Head Chronicle, Wednesday 4 November 1908, page 2
Examiner, Thursday 5 November 1908, page 3

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

 


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