St Michael’s Catholic Church, Campbell Town

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Opened 29 September 1857. From panel on site:

Bishop Wilson was responsible for the construction of this bluestone church and his coat of arms and initials, WW, can be found on the south-eastern wall. Wilson has tried and failed to obtain land for the Church in the 1840s, but succeeded in 1857 and it was consecrated in September of that year.

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ST. MICHAEL’S CHURCH, CAMPBELL TOWN.
The interesting ceremony of laying the first stone of this church was very well attended by a large number of residents of Campbell Town and neighbourhood on Wednesday last. The impressive ceremonial as presented by the Roman Catholic Ritual was read by the Right Rev. Bishop Wilson, accompanied by several of his clergy. The 50th, 83rd, and 126th Psalms were chaunted by the choir; and the bishop delivered a very impressive sermon ; after which the procession proceeded round the “foundation” trenches, which were solemnly blessed by the bishop.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, the people assembled spontaneously placed their offerings on the consecrated stone, to the amount of £128 11s. 5d.

The church when completed will be a credit and an ornament to Campbell Town. It will be a handsome Gothic structure, in the English style of the 13th century, with the narrow lancet windows and pointed arches of that period.

The translation of the Latin inscription, placed within the foundation stone, is as follows :—
“The corner stone of this church to be erected in honor of the Most Blessed and Undivided Trinity, and for the greater Glory of Almighty God. Under the patronage of St. Michael the Arch-Angel, and all holy Angels, was laid by Robert William, first Bishop of Hobart Town, on the 28th day of June in the year of salvation, 1856, being the 11th year of the Pontificate of our Sovereign Lord Pius IX. ; Victoria the first in England, happily reigning, and Henry Edward Young, Knight, being Governor in Tasmania”
“Architect— Henry G. Hunter.
Builder— William Hill.”

The liberality of the subscribers to the building fund has been greatly owing to the earnest zeal and exertions of the Rev. John Fitzgerald, the Pastor of the District, of whose hospitality the bishop and a large party partook, at a dinner given at Kanes’ Hotel. Amongst the guests were the Rev. Messrs. Bond, Butler, Dunue, Hogan, Keshan, Ryan, Messrs. W. R. Allison, Valentine, M. Aitkin, W. Denton, &c. &c
The Cornwall Chronicle, 2 July 1856

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OPENING OF SAINT MICHAEL’S CHURCH, CAMPBELL TOWN.
The new Catholic Church at Campbell Town, dedicated to St. Michael and the Holy Angels, was solemnly opened on Tuesday last, the 29th ult. being Michaelmas day, by the Right Rev. Bishop Willson assisted by a large number of clergy from various parts of the Island, amongst whom were the Rev. Messrs. Butler, Maguire, Bond, Hunter, Hogan, Dunne, Keohan, Burke, Marum, Murphy &c&c. The church was filled to ex cess, and great numbers were unable to gain admit tance. Visitors from Oatlands, Bothwell, Ross, Fingal, and the surrounding districts were present. High Mass was sung by the Revds. Father Maguire, Father Bond, and Hogan, Deacon and Subdeacon. The sermon was preached, after the Gospel, by the venerable Bishop. His Lordship during the address, thanked from his heart all those Catholics and Protestants, whose charity had prompted them to subscribe so liberally towards the erection of that beautiful, though humble, edifice -an edifice which was to be for ever dedicated to God’s Honor and Glory.

[continued]
Hobart Town Mercury, 5 October 1857

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The church is a very handsome structure, the style of architecture adopted, being early English, and consists of nave, chancel and sacristy. The total length inside is 67 feet, width of nave 22 feet, height of walls 16ft 6 inches, sacristy 14 feet by 11. The nave is lighted by single lancet headed window—the West end containing the front entrance, above which is a triplet window and trefoil ; the gable surmounted by a hand- some bell turret, the height of which from ground to top of cross is 47 feet. The other gables are finished withenriched stone crosses. The east or chancel window is very chaste and neat in design, it consists of 3 lights with chamfered mullions and lancet heads filled with tracery. The materials used in the building are blue ironstone quarried on tho ground, with Ross white free stone quoins, dressings, copings &c. It is mo[s]t substantially built ; and reflects much credit on the stone mason, Mr. Wm. Wills. The roofs are all open, the rafters sheathed with pine and the whole inside is varnished. There will be a rood screen of cedar, carved of appropriate design as soon as means will permit, under the arch between the nave and chancel. The church is fitted with open benches of ancient de- sign made of pine stained and varnished. The design was made and carried into effect by Mr. H.G. Hunter of Hobart Town, and though humble in its pretentions its appearance is very striking and picturesque. All the details are carried out in strict accordance with the style of the building, and, considering the limited amount of funds, which, in the commencement, was placed at the architect’s disposal, very great praise is due to him for the construction, in so short a time, of so elegant and ornamental an edifice.

The Altar which is placed under the east window is indeed a work of art. It comprises au Altar with a Tabernacle and Reredos complete, the wh[o]le beaut fully carved, and very richly painted and gilt. , The design, workmanship, and decoration, have all been executed by Mr. Hunter, the architect ; and the taste and judgment displayed in the decoration reflect the greatest credit upon him. The Altar candlesticks are of wood beautifully turned and gilt. The Altar was presented to the Church, being purchased by subscriptions raised in Hobart Town.

uThe total cost of the building when thoroughly completed will be about £1300. It affords accommodation for 300 persons.
Hobart Town Mercury, 5 October 1857

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CAMPBELL TOWN.
(From another Correspondent.)
The new Catholic Church of St. Michael’s Campbell Town, the foundation stone of which was laid in June, 1856, was now solemnly dedicated for Divine Worship, on Tuesday last the 29th inst. being Michaelmas day. The spectacle was not soon to be forgotten by those who were fortunate enough to be present at it. The weather was most propitious, and long before the ap- pointed time, crowds of people might be seen wending their way to the sacred edifice. Persons of every creed, and all classes of society, vied with one another in their anxiety to witness the ceremony ; and the assemblage was certainly one of the most numerous and respectable ever witnessed in Campbell Town.

[continued]
Hobart Town Mercury, 5 October 1857

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One thought on “St Michael’s Catholic Church, Campbell Town

  1. Hello to all at St Michael’s I was in Campbell Town in June this year to visit your Church I was very happy to find it open so I could have a look around.
    I believe my 2nd Great Grand Parents married in your Church on the
    28.12.1851 they are Elizabeth Scott -Walter McGee if you have any information about them or know where I can get it I would very happy to
    reimburse you for any cost’s Thank You .
    Regards Pauline Di Mauro

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