No. 1443 - Queenstown - Uniting Church (1946)

Queenstown is the main town in the West Coast region and it 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 weatherboard church was under construction which was opened on Sunday 1 August of that year. [see No. 1436]

By the 1940s the old 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 weatherboard church was renovated and retained for continued use as a church hall and Sunday school.

The foundation stone for the new church was ceremonially laid on Saturday 21 April 1946. The Mercury reported:

"The new building will be a symbol of Christian faith and way of life,” said the Rev Gordon Arthur, MA, chairman of the Hobart District, when he laid the foundation stone of the new Methodist Church at Queenstown on Saturday afternoon. The Rev W. R. Kemp, who presided, said the new building had been planned by the Church Trust, and made special mention of the work in this connection by the Rev S. Shepherd. Mr R. McConnell, secretary and treasurer of the trust, said the building was expected to cost £1,200, most of which had been provided in a bequest by the late Mr Harry Poole. The Ladies' Guild was to provide furnishings and leadlight windows”.

“Mr H. M. Murray, general superintendent of the Mt. Lyell Co., which manufactured the concrete bricks which will form the shell of the building, said the architectural design would provide Queenstown with one of its most outstanding structures…. In laying the foundation stone with a trowel of Mt. Lyell, copper, the Rev Gordon Arthur expressed the hope for a reunion of all Christian Churches. He said the trowel would be placed in the museum at Hobart Wesley Church….”.


The church was officially opened Saturday 21 September 1946. The Advocate reported:

“…Despite unpleasant weather, a large crowd assembled to witness the official opening. The superintendent of the Queenstown Circuit (Rev. W. R. Kemp, L.Th.) conducted a preliminary service outside the church, after which Mr. A. Hull, clerk of works for the church trust, handed the key of the building to Mr. Howie, who officially dedicated and opened the church. The dedication service was continued inside the building, before a congregation which fully taxed the accommodation. …Following tho service, approximately 200 people attended a tea in the Sunday school hall….”.

“Numerous tributes were paid to the secretary-treasurer of the church trust (Mr. R. Hingston), the clerk of works (Mr. A. Hull), the minister (Rev. W. R. Kemp), and members of the church trust. The secretary outlined the work performed by the trust in connection with the building operations. The cost of the building and furnishings amounted to approximately £2300.…The furnishings already provided on the dais and pulpit were donated by church members, and inscribed silver plates were placed; on these items in recognition of the gifts. The Time and Talent Club had arranged the purchase and installation of the stained glass window, and the Ladies' Guild had provided money for complete new seating….Thanks to people connected with the actual building of the church were tendered to Mr. A. Hull. He especially mentioned the technical advice and assistance and given by practical men of the district. He felt deeply indebted to those who had assisted and the voluntary labor of members and other helpers not closely associated with the church…”.


From the late 1960s Presbyterians joined the Methodists to worship as a combined congregation. In 1977 the property was transferred to the Uniting Church. The date of the last service, before the church’s permanent closure is not known. The property was put up for sale in 2020. The new owner is restoring the church and further information about this can found in the links provided at the end of this page.

Queenstown Uniting Church - photographs courtesy of Frank Knight Real Estate

Photo: Frank Knight Real Estate

The church and hall. The hall is the rear section of the original church which was partitioned in 1920. The hall and church are listed on the heritage register. Photo: Frank Knight Real Estate


Photo: Frank Knight Real Estate


Photo: Frank Knight Real Estate


Photo: Frank Knight Real Estate


Photo: Frank Knight Real Estate


Photo: Frank Knight Real Estate


Photo: Frank Knight Real Estate


The church hall - Photo: Frank Knight Real Estate


The original weatherboard Methodist Church. The rear section of the church was retained after the front section of the church was demolished in 1945. 

Sources:

Advocate, Tuesday 24 April 1945, page 4
Mercury, Tuesday 24 April 1945, page 6
Advocate, Friday 16 August 1946, page 4
Advocate, Wednesday 11 September 1946, page 4
Advocate, Tuesday 24 September 1946, page 4
Mercury, Tuesday 24 September 1946, page 9

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.

https://www.facebook.com/concretechurch/

http://concretechurch.blogspot.com/2022/07/buying-old-church-in-queenstown.html

https://ucatas.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/09-September.pdf

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