No. 1386 - Impression Bay - Church of Christ Meeting House (1889-1916)

The Tasman Peninsula was the site of several Church of Christ communities who established churches or ‘meeting houses’ at Nubeena, Koonya, Highcroft, Oakwood and Impression Bay.

The church at Impression Bay began in 1879 when William Spaulding moved into the area from Bream Creek. Worship initially took place in Spaulding’s home. In 1889 a small chapel was built on land donated by George Greatbatch. This was located on Cooks Road, midway between Impression Bay (renamed Premaydena) and Nubeena.

There is little information about the church in its early years, however, in 1893, a lengthy article was published in the Hobart Mercury concerning the Church of Christ’s summer picnic. The report, which is reproduced below, provides a rare glimpse into the lives of the local Christian community:

“The New Year's holiday was generally observed as such by sports at Taranna in the form of small shooting and fishing parties, and last, but by no means least, a general picnic was given by the members of the Church of Christ at their meeting house situate between Impression Bay and Nubeena".

"The sports at Taranna were up to the usual mark, but, following so closely after those of Boxing Day, were not very well attended. The picnic was well attended, and was a great success. Invitations were cordially given by members of the Church to their friends outside the Church circle, and these invitations were responded to in the same spirit. The gathering from all parts of the district was a gladsome sight, the rising generation being in great force, auguring well for the future development of the Peninsula. The weather was decidedly warm, but tempered by a gentle sea breeze which seemed to give health and strength by its touch. The youngsters were first to have a "tuck in” at the good things provided, and then followed the visitors, and lastly the members of the Church. The arrangements were well laid and well carried out - never a sign of a scramble, untidiness, or a scarcity of viands. An epicure could have revelled to his heart's content, provided he did not require strong drink, for of that there was none".

"After dinner young and old mingled in common play, the usual games being taken up. The circle formed by the game of "little dog" would well serve for a training course for an athlete. As the day wore on the stiffness inseparable from such a varied gathering passed off, and before the parting came one and all were prepared to state that "they were having a good time,” and the visitors mostly were delighted at their warm-hearted reception".

"The good work done by this Church is self-evident. The branch was started by a few members when first the Peninsula was opened for selection. These have quietly and persistently worked on. The meetings were first held at a settler's cottage, then in a barn, and then by their efforts and some generous help from church members of other parts, the present meeting-house was erected, which building is a credit to them and the district. The wants of the youngsters are looked after by sundry Sunday-school classes. In these classes it is hoped that a ground work of temperance, religion, and honesty to God and man will be laid which will prove a sheet anchor in the voyage of life. Socialists and atheists may laugh, but have they ever given any substitute for what they wish to take away? Anything to take the place of these Sunday-schools? The members of this Church will be wished success by those whose early training holds them to other denominations”.


The relative remoteness of the location and the insularity of the community has conspired to leave very little in the historical record. In 1916 the building was moved by bullock team to a more central location at Koonya. In February 1927 the chapel was destroyed in bushfires and along with it the records of the church.

The Church of Christ Chapel or Meeting House on Cooks Road near Impression Bay (Premaydena) Source: Church of christ, Tasman Peninsula Centenary Celebrations, 1878-1979.

A photo of the chapel's removal from the site on Cooks Road to Koonya. Photo: posted by the Friends of Koonya Facebook Group, 21 September 1911. 


 Sources:

Mercury, Monday 9 January 1893, page 4

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



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