No. 1487 - Burnie - Wilmot Street - Seventh Day Adventist Church (1927)

Burnie is a port city on the north-west coast of Tasmania. The origins of the town date back to 1827 when a settlement was established at Emu Bay by the Van Diemen’s Land Company. The settlement was later renamed Burnie after William Burnie, a director of the Company.

The Seventh-Day Adventist Church was established in Tasmania in 1888. The denomination originated in the USA in the 1860s and in 1885 a group of Adventists travelled to Australia and began preaching in Melbourne. After a community was established in Melbourne in 1886 members moved on to Sydney, Adelaide and Hobart. Public tent meetings were held in Sandy Bay in 1888 which led to the establishment of a church at Collinsvale and then Hobart and Launceston shortly after the turn of the century.

The Seventh Day Adventist presence at Burnie began in 1921 with the first service held in the Town Hall with about 20 members in attendance. Services continued in the Town Hall until 1927 when a small weatherboard church was built on Wilmot Street.

The church was opened and dedicated on Sunday 4 September 1927. The Adventist newspaper, ‘Australasian Record’ describes the opening as follows:

“Sunday… was a memorable day in the history of the Burnie company, and one of great rejoicing, when their neat little church was dedicated. The service was conducted by the president, Pastor E. G. Whittaker, assisted by Pastor L. E. Newbold, the church being well filled for the occasion by members and friends. The brethren and sisters of this church are to be commended for the loyal efforts they have put forth. The first meeting for the consideration of building a church was held on October 7, 1925, and now they have a neat little weatherboard church, lined with a six-feet dado of Tasmanian oak, and above that to the ceiling, plasterboard. The ceiling is also plasterboard, prettily set off with strips of oak nicely stained. The building is 40 feet by 20 feet, including the two back rooms, which are under one roof… The approximate value is £400, with a block of land worth £250 present value, which had been previously paid for during the efforts of Pastors Harker and Gillis. The Australasian Conference Association, Ltd., generously assisted them by a loan of £150. About £10 has yet to be raised to pay for furnishings. The sum of £21 10.s. was given at the dedication”.

The church was designed by architect Mr. Frank Tallack and built by “Messrs. Parsons and Tattersalls.

The Wilmot Street church was used up until the 1960s when the property was sold as a consequence of the development of Bass Highway. In 1969 land was acquired at West Park Grove for the construction of a new church. The West Park Grove church is still in use.

The church on Wilmot Street. Cropped photograph from the Australasian Record (see below)

Australasian Record, October 1927


Advocate, Tuesday 21 June 1927, page 4
Advocate, Monday 5 September 1927, page 5
Australasian Record, 10 October 1927, page 6

Burnie: A Thematic History, Burnie City Council, 2010.


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