No. 1419 - Gretna - St Mary's Parish Hall (1928)

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

Gretna is a small township in the Derwent Valley approximately 60 kilometres from Hobart. The area was originally known as Stony Plains Hut and Macquarie Plains. The name Gretna was adopted in the early 20th century. The origin of this name comes from a local farm called ‘Gretna Green’ and also an Inn established in the 1860s which bore the same name.

St Mary’s church was built in 1847 and was consecrated by Bishop Nixon on 1 June 1848. A church hall was built some distance from the church about 80 years later. Both the church and St Mary’s Hall have recently been sold by the Anglican Church.

The hall’s foundation stone was ceremonially laid on Saturday 5 November 1927. The Mercury published the following report concerning the ceremony:

“About 200 people from all parts of the Gretna, Macquarie Plains, and Hamilton districts, together with many visitors, gathered at Gretna on Saturday afternoon to witness the laying of the foundation stone of a parish hall which when erected is to be used by the parishioners of the Gretna Church of England parish. The hall, which is being erected close to the residence of the parish rector (the Rev F. H. Lansdell) and overlooking the main Hamilton Road and the undulating country contained in the well-kept Clarendon estate, is a gift of the owner of the estate (Mrs J. Fletcher Walker), who has for many years been one of tho foremost church workers of the district. The acre of land surrounding the proposed building has also been given by Mrs Walker. The foundation stone was laid by the Warden of Hamilton (Mr. S. R. G. Allwright) with a silver trowel…Prior to the laying of the foundation stone a brief but impressive service was conducted by Mr Lansdell, assisted by the rector of Hamilton (the Rev W. F. Henslowe)….”.

“The establishment of a parish hall would be a decided acquisition to the district, and it would help the rector to know his people better -if that were possible Despite the development of the times, the Church was still the recognised leader In social, as well as spiritual Ideals, and with the establishment of a parish hall the people of the district would be better able to join together in helping to develop the social side of life…..The rector appealed for funds for the furnishing of the hall, with the result that £12 10s. was collected, also an offer to supply blinds and rollers for the new building”.

The hall was officially opened by Bishop Hay on Saturday 4 February 1928. A short description of the building was included in the Mercury’s report of the opening ceremony:

“The hall, which has the inscription, "St. Mary's Parish Hall," on the front entrance gate, is now finished and complete in every detail. The design is outstanding, and it is evident that no expense has been spared in the construction. The main room measures 50 ft. x 25ft, while the parish room, which is to be used for meetings and Sunday school classes, measures 20ft. x 18ft. A cloak-room, 20ft. x 8ft" a spacious and convenient kitchen, fitted with openings into the main hall and the parish room, and a cinematograph operating room form the remaining features of this up-to-date building”.

St Mary's Parish Hall - photo:

St Mary's Parish Hall - photo:

St Mary's Parish Hall - photo:


Mercury, Monday 7 November 1927, page 3
Mercury, Monday 6 February 1928, page 3


Popular posts from this blog

Welcome to Churches of Tasmania

No. 624 - Dunalley - St Martin's Anglican Church - "In grateful memory of the men who fought in the Great War"

No. 592 - Gretna - St Mary the Virgin - "Worthy of Imitation"