No. 1489 - Burnie - St George's Parish Hall and Sunday School (1938)

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 those which no longer exist.

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.

Burnie’s first Anglican church was a small wooden structure which was built in 1850 at a site on Wilmot Street. In 1885 a new church was built on the corner Cattley Street and Mount Street. This building was substantially rebuilt in 1959 and barely resembles the original church.

In 1938 a parish hall and Sunday school was built adjacent to St George’s on the Cattley Street side of the church. A memorial foundation stone of pink Coles Bay granite was ceremonially laid by Bishop Hay on Tuesday 7 June 1938. Two convict bricks salvaged from the old St John’s church at Launceston were placed alongside the foundation stone. The building was designed by prominent Tasmanian architects ‘H.S. East, Roy Smith and Willing’.

The hall was officially opened on Thursday 22 September 1938. The Advocate’s report of the event included a detailed description of the new building:

“The recently-completed Parish Hall of St. George's Church of England, Burnie, was officially opened by the Ven. Archdeacon H. B. Atkinson, of Hagley, last evening, in the presence of a large gathering….The hall, which is approximately 100 feet in length overall, and 30 feet wide, is equipped in the kitchen at the rear with an electric hot water service, spacious cupboards, sinks, etc. The kindergarten room also is situated in this portion of the building, while in front are cloakrooms, which may be converted for other uses, such as committee meetings”.

“The stage has been provided with three doors for the entrance of players in dramatic presentations. Features of the auditorium, which measures 50 feet by 30 feet, are the dormer windows, through which the sunlight streams from overhead to give maximum light. At night, nature’s light is equalled by the strength of floodlights set near the ceiling on either side of the hall. These will be especially valuable for indoor games, such as badminton…”.

In 1956 a kindergarten was added to the hall which echoes the style of the new church which was rebuilt three years later.

St George's Parish Hall and Sunday School

St George's Parish Hall and Sunday School


Advocate, Wednesday 8 June 1938, page 6
Advocate, Friday 23 September 1938, page 2
Examiner, Monday 26 September 1938, page 3

Pink, K, A Place to Worship. A History of St George’s Anglican Church Burnie, 1984


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