No. 1491 - Launceston - St Luke's Calvary Hospital Chapel (1982)

Churches and chapels have been established in almost every form of public institution including gaols, hospitals, retirement homes, schools, universities, convents and military camps. In Tasmania at least seven chapels have been established within public and private hospitals. This article will focus on the historic chapel at Calvary St Luke’s Hospital, Launceston.

The origins of Calvary St Luke’s Hospital date back to 1918 when a Homeopathic Hospital was established in ‘Dilkusha’, an expansive residence located on Lyttelton Street.

In 1951 the Homeopathic Hospital was acquired by the Anglican church. The hospital building was dedicated to St Luke on Thursday 18 October 1951. The Examiner reported the occasion as follows:

“On the day of the saint whom its new name honours, the Launceston Homoeopathic Hospital formally became St. Luke's Hospital of the Church of England. The board decided some months ago to give the hospital, which has "served Launceston people for 51 years, to the Church. Facing a congregation of members of the Church, hospital committees, workers, nurses, and patients, the Bishop of Tasmania (the Rt. Rev. G. P. Cranswick) blessed and dedicated the hospital to a continuation of its work for the suffering….The Bishop-said that the acceptance of the hospital laid a liability on Church of England people and their friends in other Protestant churches to finance and support it. He suggested that auxiliaries should be formed and a chaplain appointed. He also commended the idea of forming a body of intercessors to pray for the sick. The same board also would carry on with the addition of members from the various Launceston, parishes of the Church of England”.

In 1952 it was proposed that a chapel be built in the hospital grounds when finances permitted. While this was never realised, it is likely that a room in the building was used as a temporary chapel. In 1981 a chapel was established on the third floor of a redeveloped hospital building. St Luke’s chapel was dedicated in March 1982.

In 1986 St Lukes was sold and then again sold in 2004 to the Catholic Order of the Little Company of Mary Health Care. The Orders presence in Australia dates back to 1885 when six Sisters of the Little Company of Mary arrived in Sydney on the SS Liguria. The Order was founded in Nottingham, England, in 1877 by Mary Potter, who at the age of 29, established a convent in a converted stocking factory.

Once in Australia, the Sisters set to work nursing the sick in their own homes, as well as running a soup kitchen, a night refuge, a school for the blind, and a parish school; and providing social services to those in need. Over time the Sisters went on to develop hospitals and health services across Australia.

In 1997, to ensure the continued growth and development of their health and aged care services, the Sisters established a company limited by guarantee, known as Little Company of Mary Health Care Ltd. (Calvary Health Care). Calvary remains a charitable Catholic not-for-profit organisation with over 18,000 staff and volunteers across the country.

The new hospital building

St Luke's Chapel is located on the third floor of the hospital -

A detail from the stained glass window in the chapel -

Sister Mary Potter, founder of the Order of The Little Company of Mary


Examiner, Friday 2 August 1918, page 7
Mercury, Friday 19 October 1951, page 7
Examiner, Saturday 1 November 1952, page 9

Launceston Churches of the 20th Century (pamphlet) Launceston Historical Society, 1996

Green, Anne and Launceston (Tas.). Council. A model municipality : places of management, mentoring & medicine in Launceston / Anne Green Launceston City Council Launceston, Tas. 2007


Popular posts from this blog

Welcome to Churches of Tasmania

No. 624 - Dunalley - St Martin's Anglican Church - "In grateful memory of the men who fought in the Great War"

No. 592 - Gretna - St Mary the Virgin - "Worthy of Imitation"