No. 1436 - Queenstown - Methodist Church (1897-1945)

Queenstown is the main town in West Coast region and is named in honour of Queen Victoria. At one time it was Tasmania's third largest town. Like all towns on the west coast it has a long history of mining.

The Wesleyan Methodists arrived in the Queenstown district in the mid 1890s and by 1897 a church was under construction. In July 1897 the Hobart Mercury reported:

“The weather here continues terribly rough and tempestuous. The new Wesleyan Church which is in course of erection was blown down this afternoon, causing considerable damage to the structure, as well as injury to the contractor and one of his men. Yesterday’s hail storm was the most severe felt here for years”.

The damage was evidently not too severe as the church was completed and opened in the following month. The Mercury reported:

“The new Wesleyan Church at Queenstown was opened on Sunday, August 1st. The weather was bad, but in spite of this, good congregations assembled at each of the services, which were conducted by the Rev G. A. Judkins. The afternoon service was devoted to the children, a large number of whom met together. A feature of the morning service was the baptismal service. It had fallen to the lot of the infant son of Mr and Mrs Redman to be the first child baptised in the new church….”.

By the time of the Great War, Queenstown’s population had declined significantly which impacted to the Methodist congregation. Consequently in 1920 the church was divided into two sections. The Zeehan and Dundas Herald reported:

“Structural alterations have been made at the Methodist Church, Queenstown, which will bring the church to a size in proportion to the congregation The church is tee shaped, and was built in the prosperous days. The archway leading into the larger portion of the church has been filled, and the smaller portion is now used for the church, the larger for a Sunday school and hall…. Mr G. Burrows, builder and contractor, has carried out the alterations very thoroughly…”.

By the 1940s the church had become structurally unsound and in 1945 the building was dismantled to make way for the construction of a new cement brick church. The rear section of the old church was retained and renovated for use as a church hall.

The history of the new church will be covered in an upcoming article.

The old Queenstown Methodist Church. The date of the photograph is given as 1910 but it may have been taken in 1920 when the interior of the church was divided into two sections. Photograph posted by Adrian Price in "West Coasters, Who remembers when..." Original source or photographer is not known

Sources:

Mercury, Wednesday 7 July 1897, page 2
Zeehan and Dundas Herald, Friday 13 August 1897, page 2
Mount Lyell Standard and Strahan Gazette, Saturday 14 August 1897, page 4
Zeehan and Dundas Herald, Friday 28 May 1920, page 4
Mercury, Tuesday 24 April 1945, page 6

Stansall, M. E. J and Methodist Church of Australasia Tasmanian Methodism, 1820-1975 : compiled at the time of last Meeting of Methodism prior to union. Methodist Church of Australasia, Launceston, Tas, 1975.

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