No. 1420 - Bicheno - Community Church (1882)

Bicheno is a small seaside town on the east coast and is located approximately185 kilometres from Hobart. It was named in honour of James Ebenezer Bicheno, a popular Colonial Secretary.

Bicheno’s Community Church is used by a joint Anglican and Uniting Church congregation as well as a Catholic congregation. When the church was built in 1882 it was shared by the Presbyterian and Anglican communities.

The church was officially opened on Sunday 10 December 1882. The Hobart Mercury’s report of the occasion also reveals the church’s origins:

“On Sunday last the inhabitants of the little township of Bicheno gathered together to celebrate the opening of a new church. Very curiously, but altogether undesignedly, the church was opened exactly 12 months after its inception. On December 10, 1881, it was decided to have it built, and on December 10, 1882, it was opened for public service”.

“In the morning the Rev. H. T. Hull officiated according to the Presbyterian form of worship, delivering a very excellent and appropriate sermon. In the evening the Rev. J. Nethercott, incumbent of Swansea, conducted service according to the usage of the Church of England, giving an earnest discourse befitting the occasion. At these services collections were taken, amounting to a little over £7. On Monday evening an excellent tea was provided by the ladies of Bicheno and its neighbourhood, after which a concert was given in a large room kindly lent by Mr. Harvey for the purpose”.

“Both tea and concert were intensely appreciated by all present. Thanks are due to all who in any way contributed to the evening’s enjoyment, and especially to those who at great personal inconvenience had to travel long distances to do so. The church, which is undenominational, is handsome and commodious, and reflects the greatest credit on Mr. Allen, the contractor. It being his first attempt at ecclesiastical architecture, high praise is due to Mr. Allen for the efficient manner in which the work in all respects has been executed. Mr. Allen tendered to erect the church at the lowest possible figure, and has added many improvements outside his contract, so that the margin for profits will be almost nil”.

Apart from a small extension at the rear, the building is little changed from when it opened over 140 years ago. Built in the Victorian Carpenter Gothic style, the weatherboard building is heritage listed. It is the only church built at Bicheno.

Bicheno Community Church. Photographer: Gary Houston (2019) Wiki Commons

The Community Church (2007) Libraries Tasmania NS3159/1/226

An undated early photograph of the church. Libraries Tasmania - PH30/1/9626

The Mercury 1882

An early photograph with the village of Bicheno in the distance. Libraries Tasmania - LPIC 147/1/105


The Mercury, Friday 26 May 1882, page 3
The Mercury, Saturday 16 December 1882, page 3
The Mercury, Monday 18 May 1884, page 3
The Mercury, Wednesday 5 May 1886, page 2


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