No. 1383 - Nubeena - "Wedge Bay Baptist Hall" (1892)

Nubeena is a town on the western side of the Tasman Peninsula, approximately 13 kilometres northwest of the Port Arthur Township. Originally the town was named Wedge Bay.

The Baptist church has had a minimal presence in South East Tasmania therefore it is unusual to find a Baptist community in such a remote location such as Nubeena. The construction of a Baptist church hall in 1892 was almost entirely the result of the efforts of Joshua Tovell Soundy, a Hobart businessman, who had purchased a property at Wedge Bay for use as a summer residence. Soundy was an active member of the Hobart Baptist church and played a prominent role in the construction of the Tabernacle on Elizabeth Street which had opened in 1887.

In September 1892 the opening of the “Wedge Bay Hall” was reported by the Hobart Mercury:

“A public hall has been erected at Wedge Bay by the Baptist community, with Mr. J. Soundy, of Hobart, as the mover and leader in getting the same done. The work has been carried out by local men, Messrs. Quinn and Co., and it is said to be a very creditable building. How it is to be utilised remains to be seen”.

While the report appears to be somewhat cynical about the viability of the hall, it was used by the Baptists for a time as well as the ‘Church of Christ’ which met in the building for evening meetings from 1897.

In the summer of 1894 Soundy attended a meeting held in the hall by the local temperance movement. The Mercury reported:

“A large and appreciative audience assembled on the night of the 3rd inst in the Wedge hall to hear Mr C G Ramsay lecture on “Intemperance”. After a hymn and prayer, Mr. J T. Soundy, who occupied the chair, introduced the lecturer. Mr Ramsay said though he had only cast anchor there for a day or two on account of his precarious health, he found himself so kindly remembered that he had extended his stay, and now gladly complied with their request. His own experience as a drunkard, as well as an active promoter of temperance for many years, entitled him to speak. He would deal with the subject as it should be, viz. a disease, and proceeded to demonstrate it as a
most terrible one, destroying soul as well as badly which no other disease did…..The lecture was listened to with marked attention and appreciation, and resulted in a pledge roll being opened, signed…”.

It is not known for how long Nubeena’s small Baptist community used the hall but it is unlikely that it was for more than a few years. The fate of the building is not known but it is very likely that it was taken over by the Church of Christ which used it as a place of worship from 1897.

Joshua Tovell Soundy - source: Libraries Tasmania


Mercury, Thursday 8 September 1892, page 4
Mercury, Thursday 6 October 1892, page 3
Mercury, Friday 6 July 1894, page 3
Examiner, Monday 2 September 1935, page 6

Rowston, Laurence F and Hobart Baptist Church. One hundred years of witness : a history of the Hobart Baptist Church, 1884-1984 / Laurence F. Rowston Hobart Baptist Church Hobart 1984 

Neville, C.C., 1979: Church of Christ, Tasman Peninsula Centenary Celebrations, 1878-1979. Hobart. (1979) 


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