No. 1450 - Perth - Temperance Hall (1847)

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.

Perth is one of Tasmania’s oldest towns having being established in 1821 by Governor Lachlan Macquarie. Macquarie was so impressed with the area that he selected it as a site for a township. At the time Macquarie was hosted by pastoralist David Gibson and named it after Gibson's home town of Perth in Scotland.

The former Temperance Hall at Perth is located on Clarence Street less that 100 metres from St Andrew’s Anglican church. In recent years the hall has been converted into a house. The hall is closely associated with Reverend Alfred Stackhouse* (1811–1876), a long-serving Anglican Minister at Perth. In addition to Temperance meetings the hall was used by the Anglicans as a Sunday school and parish hall and also for Bible Society meetings.

The Abstinence Movement in Northern Tasmania was promoted by Congregational Minister, Reverend Charles Price* and Isaac Sherwin, a Launceston businessman and staunch Methodist.

At Perth an Abstinence or ‘Teetotal society’ was established in December 1842. The Launceston Courier reported:

“A very interesting meeting was held in a large workshop belonging to Mr. Pascoe, on Thursday evening….for the purpose of forming a society, when upwards of hundred person attended. The chair was taken by I. Sherwin, Esq.*, who in a concise and appropriate address explained very clearly the principles of the society…. At the conclusion of the meeting eight people signed the pledge. We understand that upward of sixty persons in and near Perth, who have already taken the pledge”.

In 1847 a temperance hall was built which was officially opened on Tuesday 23 February 1847. The opening is recorded in a short article published in the Launceston Examiner:

“A new Teetotal Hall erected at Perth, was opened on Tuesday. There was a large attendance of visitors from town, who partook of refreshment in a booth prepared for the purpose, and were afterwards addressed by several members of the Society. The proceedings were countenanced and supported by the presence of many gentlemen of the highest respectability”.

In 1849, on the occasion of the opening of Launceston’s new Temperance Hall on York Street, mention was made of the progress that had been made at Perth:

“At Perth, they had a tee-total hall, and there they held a Sunday school, and the bible meetings, and sometimes they had the Church Service; - so that the cause of teetotalism, in this way, identified itself with the cause of religion, and of religious instruction to the young”.

By the 1860s the local Anglican church’s use of the hall had become a matter of contention amongst some in the Perth community. In 1863 a correspondent for the Cornwall Chronicle wrote:

“…Another cause of dissatisfaction has occurred by a discovery with regard to the Temperance Hall. This building was first projected in consequence of the want of a place where to hold the Temperance meetings, and almost every body contributed towards it. Of course, no one objected to its being used for a [Sunday] Schoolroom, and for other good purposes; but it was known as the Temperance Hall and was understood to be a general and public building. And when any repairs or improvements were wanted, the necessary expenses were solicited from persons of every class and creed”.

“One gentleman who never belonged to the Church of England recently gave £25 for a new ceiling. And now it is found to be a perfectly Church of England building, provision simply being made for Temperance and Bible Society meetings to be held in it. But what hold the Teetotallers have on it they really cannot tell…all. Temperance proceedings were conducted according to the will and under the sole authority of [Rev.] Mr. Stackhouse. Considerable surprise was created by this discovery about the Temperance Hall, and the general exclamation was that when it was built it was intended that Mr. Stackhouse should never leave Perth, the impression being that whilst the people were led to think it was to be a general public building the real design was to make it as much as possible a private Stackhouse concern….”.

While it is true that the Temperance Hall became a de facto parish hall for St Andrew’s Anglican church, it was also put to use for a wide range of purposes including at least one wedding, public meetings and lectures and a variety of social gatherings such as dances and scout meetings. I have not determined when the last temperance meeting was held or when it ceased being used by St Andrew’s church.

The former Temperance Hall on Clarence Street - Photo:

The interior of the hall before it was converted into a house. Photo:

Reverend Alfred Stackhouse who was closely associated with the establishment of the Perth Temperance Hall. Photograph: Libraries Tasmania - Item Number: NS407/1/30



Launceston Advertiser, Thursday 26 October 1837, page 2
Launceston Courier, Monday 28 November 1842, page 3
Launceston Courier, Monday 5 December 1842, page 2
Launceston Examiner, Wednesday 18 June 1845, page 3
Launceston Examiner, Wednesday 6 August 1845, page 4
Launceston Examiner, Wednesday 24 February 1847, page 4
The Courier, Saturday 27 February 1847, page 2
Launceston Examiner, Saturday 27 November 1847, page 5
Cornwall Chronicle, Saturday 26 May 1849.
Cornwall Chronicle, Wednesday 13 May 1863, page 6
Cornwall Chronicle, Wednesday 20 May 1863, page 5
The Mercury, Thursday 14 April 1942, page 2 
Examiner, Wednesday 20 December 2023

An article on the history of the Temperance Movement in Tasmania can be read <HERE>



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