Northern Midlands parishes will farewell two beloved churches

FOR SALE: St Andrew’s Church was opened in 1837 by the Governor of Van Diemen's Land, Sir John Franklin. Picture: Supplied
FOR SALE: St Andrew’s Church was opened in 1837 by the Governor of Van Diemen's Land, Sir John Franklin. Picture: Supplied

Two Northern Midlands churches will be sold by the Anglican Church. 

St Andrew’s Church at Evandale and St John’s Church at Ross were proposed for sale last week as a part of the Anglican Diocese of Tasmania’s commitment to the national redress scheme for sexual abuse survivors. 

St Andrew’s Church no longer has a regular minister, but weekly services still run thanks to the help of volunteers. 

Church management committee member Jill Waddle said she was not surprised by the diocese’s decision to sell the church.

“We haven’t been a viable congregation for some years,” she said.

“We had nine there [on Sunday] and that was big for us.

“We get retired clergy from Longford, and nearby areas, to take services once a month.”

St John’s Church is a part of the Northern Midlands parish and does not hold services anymore, according to a diocese spokeswoman.

The sandstone church opened in 1869 by then Anglican Bishop of Tasmania, Charles Bromby.

“There have been no regular worship services held at the church in Ross for some years now,” she said.

“There are four or five people who regularly drive from Ross to attend church in Campbell Town.”

The Anglican Bishop of Tasmania, Dr Richard Condie has left the door open for churches to appeal against the diocese’s decision. 

However, Ms Waddle said there were no plans to contest the sale. 

“I’d like to see it continue to be used by the community.

“It would be wonderful if a group opened it to be used as a wedding venue. 

“People of of all denominations already use it as a wedding venue, because it is a pretty church.”

Ms Waddle said the church community of St Andrew’s would survive after the loss of its church building. 

To acknowledge what was done and to commit to the scheme was a profoundly Christian thing to do.

Jill Waddle

The congregation conduct a weekly bible study session which will continue.

Ms Waddle said the group would also meet up and attend other churches in either Longford or Launceston of a Sunday. 

“The redress scheme is much more important and we have to remember that the church is the people and not the buildings, as beautiful as the buildings are,” she said.

“I agree with the Bishop that redress is necessary and rationalisation of buildings in Tasmania is necessary.

“To acknowledge what was done and to commit to the scheme was a profoundly Christian thing to do.”

St Andrew’s Church was opened in 1837 by the Governor of Van Diemen's Land, Sir John Franklin.