St Luke’s Anglican Church, Zeehan

Zeehan & Dundas Herald 17 July 1891 - 1
Zeehan and Dundas Herald, 17 July 1891

The first Anglican chapel was opened in 1891, replaced by a concrete church in 1909. The article at the bottom of this page has the history of the Anglican church in Zeehan up to the opening of the new church.

ZEEHAN, Thursday.
Mr. W. G. Wells, contractor, has all the preliminaries in hand towards commencing the erection of the Anglican Church next week. The building will be in camerated cement, and should be completed about the end of May.

The Examiner, 19 January 1909


At Zeehan yesterday St. Luke’s Church was opened. In April, 1907, a committee was appointed to carry out a building scheme, and a start was made to collect the necessary funds by those duly authorised, viz., Messrs. J. L. Hog gins (secretary). T. A. Hogg (treasurer), H. Beresford, D. V. Allen. and T. H. Vincent (churchwardens), and H. C. Webb, A. S. Stebbins, J. Overall, H. W. Judd, and J. O. Storey. Needless to state, the Rev. H.H. Anderson (rector) has been in the front rank of every movement to facilitate the whole business. Plans were ordered to be pre pared, and Mr. Alex. North, of Launceston, was entrusted with the work. and the foundation stone was laid by Bishop Mercer in December of the same year. Camerated concrete having come to the fore during the few preceding years, and having an abundance of excellent mate rials for such lying in the form of concentrates on the several mining dumps, it was decided, after experimenting with this materiel, to erect a building in concrete, and the plans were prepared accordingly. A contract was secured by Mr. W. C. Wells, the well-known Zeehan builder, the figure being £710. Additional expenses for the furniture and seating will bring the total expenditure up to about £900.

The dimensions of the new building are as follow:-Nave, 75ft. by 32ft., with chancel 27ft. by 18ft. The walls are of camerated concrete 9in. thick. These were laid down in the most approved style, course by course, and the contractor and his men displayed a knowledge and ingenuity both as regards the necessary plant and carrying out of the work, which, excepting that of the National Bank, also executed by the same firm, is the first of its kind attempted in the west, while everything points to its proving not only highly satisfactory to this class of structure, but also to our climatic conditions. The walls are of a good height, and the roof carries a large pitch, the building being provided with good sanitary arrangements, and also having splendid acoustic properties. All doors and outlets are in accord with health ideas. and the latest by-laws, and the premises, topped up by a smart belfry tower, present an imposing and ornate appearance. The contract for the seating was secured by Messrs. T. and T. Gunn, Limited, of Launceston, and the materials used in construction is Scottsdale stringy bark. The timber is very handsome, presenting the appearance of light oak. The work is clean, and carried out in this firm’s well-known style. But, although neat in design, the seating could have been made more rakish and comfortable by splaying the backs and raising the front of the seats accordingly. Mr. H. C. Webb has been responsible for raising the funds for a handsome brass lectern, which Salisbury’s Foundry Company, Launceston, has supplied at a cost of £15. Mr. Webb has undoubtedly been the man behind the financial gun, and has taken, with many others, a very keen interest in the proceedings. Mr. A. S. Stebbins has presented a red satin dorsal, the edging being in very hand some embroidery. Mr. R. Kirkwood donated the litany desk, the design being his own. The furniture for the vestry and porch were given by Messrs. C. F. Edwards and H. C. Webb. Readers will see by the above that St. Luke’s congregation possesses friends with a liberal turn of mind.

The building is lighted by stained glass windows, the window in the western end being particularly handsome. The contractor, Mr. W. G. Wells, donated the coloured glass. The ceiling is very handsome. It is anticipated the church will be opened, and the debt thereon will not exceed £250. Should the bazaar to be held at the end of the present month prove a success, the total may be considerably lessened. In conclusion, the Anglican congregation may be credited with having a very fine building, very complete in detail, and easily the best church property on the coast. To all concerned much credit is due, and the contractor should feel proud of his handicraft, that should at least pre sent a lasting advertisement for faithful work. The old building will be used in future for Sunday school purposes, also as a parish hall for meetings, concerts, etc., supplying a long-felt want.
The Examiner, 12 August 1909


On Sunday evening, at St. Luke’s, the Rector (Rev. H. H. Anderson), in his address on the Church of England, Zeehan, said:—

This evening we have come to the end of a chapter in the history of the Church in Zeehan. This week we shall commence a new chapter on a new page. This building, which for many more years than was at first expected has fulfilled a function that was only intended to be temporary, will revert to the use for which it was intended, and for which, from its appearance and size, it is more suited. The church building is the focus and centre of the church life in a parish. Clergy may come, and clergy may go, but it remains ; new officials may replace old ones; congregations may fluctuate; but the building stands as the outward symbol and sign of the worship of God. We may rejoice, therefore, that in the providence of God we are to ‘ move into a building that will be more worthy of the worship of the Great King of all the Earth ; that will, from its atmosphere, help to foster the religious feelings ; help, I trust, to deepen our devotions.

Yet there must be many who have a feeling of affection for this old building. There are some who have been married in it; many whose children have been baptised in it; a few who have heard the last solemn words of the church pronounced in it over their beloved dead. To myself, personally, there are special reasons which cause the leaving of this building, even for one so much finer — to have, as it were, a tinge of sentiment. This is the first church of which I have been in sole charge, and I shall always look back to the hours I have spent within its walls as among the happiest and the holiest in my life. It seemed to me appropriate, then, that we should, this evening, spend the last few minutes of our service in a retrospect of the history of the building, bound up, as it is, with the history of our church in Zeehan.

The first clergyman resident on the West Coast was Canon Icely. He and his wife arrived here in October, 1889, and be held his first service in an hotel He travelled all over the district, holding services in halls, stores, Customs shed, and hotels, and, in spite of the fearful state of the roads and the hardships of travelling in those days, his –ble wife accompanied him every where. She was the first woman on Dundas, and the parson’s wife was as well known as the parson in the mining camps scattered about the field. Early in 1890 the ground for a church in Zeehan was pegged out; it was the block on which the old Chapel of Ease stood. At the end of that year the Rev. A. G. King came out from England to take charge of the West Coast, and Canon Icely was called away to another sphere of labor. The conditions of life here were very hard then ; he had to live in a tent, with little or no privacy, often unable to get his clothes dried after his day’s work. Unwearing in his efforts, his bodily strength was not equal to his spirit. Old West Coasters have told me how they have met him tramping along the muddy quagmires that served as roads in those days, when it was evident that he was fitter to be in bed, and it is on record that he was once found in fainting condition on the road to Trial Harbor, and a horse had to be sent out to bring him in. All honor to those brave pioneers of our church in those early days.

At the end of the year 1890 a bazaar was held on behalf of a parsonage fund, and a sum of £150 was raised by it. Early in 1891 Mr King bought the land on the hill where the houses occupied by Mr Beresford and Mr A. J. Scott now stand. A four-roomed cottage was first built, and services were hold in one of its rooms. And then this building was erected. From the first it was not intended to be a permanent church, for the records read: ‘It is only a temporary building, capable of seating about 200 people, it being the intention of the parishioners to subsequently erect a much more imposing edifice, and devote the first building to the purposes if a Sunday school, hall for entertainments, parochial meetings, etc.” It was not as large as it now is, as it was only 46ft long, and had no porch, and yet such was the cost of carriage of materials in those days, the railway not being completed, that to erect even that small build inn necessitated an expenditure of over £400.

At the annual meeting in January, 1897, a Building Committee was formed. Two schemes were under discussion — one to move and enlarge this building, and the other to sell it and the ground on which it stood, and build a new church, and in January, 1899, at the annual meeting, a motion favoring the latter scheme was passed, but later on we find the Building Committee favoring the former scheme. In August, 1898, the block of land on which our church now stands was bought, and the discussion over the two schemes continued. When the Bishop visited Zeehan in October, 1890, the erection of a new church, at a cost of £800, was decided upon. But it was the removal scheme after all that was carried out, and in May, 1891, the vestry reported that the building had been removed and enlarged ; 14ft of length was added to it, and a porch. Later on in the year the Building Committee resigned in a body, and the project of raising a new church again fell through.

At the beginning of 1902 another effort was made to raise funds for a new church, fresh schemes ? ????g being introduced, but Canon de Coetlogon left in May, and the money that had been collected was handed back to the donors. The Rev. W. S. Stone was appointed , Rector, and held that position till the end of 1905. The Rev. T. H. Pitt was put in temporary charge(?) (?) April, and was followed by the Rev. C. ?den. The Rev. A. F.. Hutchinson was appointed Rector, and took over charge in 1906, and at the beginning of 1907 I replaced him. Mr Hutchinson had obtained plans for a new church from Sir North, architect, in Launceston, and in April, 1907, at a meeting of parishioners, the present Building Committee was elected. The details or their work will come in connection with the new building.
Zeehan & Dundas Herald, 19 August 1909

11 thoughts on “St Luke’s Anglican Church, Zeehan

  1. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Joy Engleson

    March 14, 2017 at 2:35am

    Hi, I am trying to trace a marriage certificate I have on my husband’s grandfather, who he never knew. There is great mystery around him and I cannot find any record online of the marriage taking place although the certificate here says they were married in St. Lukes Church in Zeehan. Can you please help me in any way with where the records for 1913 could be viewed. I do have the date of July 12th 1913. Many thanks. Joy

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    April 17, 2017 at 10:31pm

    Surely your church would have some kind of documentation? A records book of whose been married in it?

    My family members also married at this church, and yes, I have a copy of the Linc Tasmania marriage certificate.
    I also have a copy of a newspaper clipping:

    Bishop – Robarts. – On January 18th, 1892 (by special licence), at St Luke’s Church Zeehan, by Rev. O. Harris. – Robert Bishop of Habart, to Alice Owen Robarts, of Hobart.

    Anything you have on Rev. o. Harris, would be great. Plus, would you have any ideas as to why is was a special licence? He was age 40, and she age 32. No under age going on here?

    Sam Norman

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    April 23, 2017 at 7:18am

    Thank you or the interesting history of this church building and some of it’s people. I am wondering if this building is still in use as a church, if not do you know if is still owned by the Anglican Church of Tasmania or has it been sold privately?

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      Monissa Whiteley

      April 23, 2017 at 7:25am

      I’m not sure. Last time I was there, the little building next door (in the second photo) seemed to be in use for services, but that was a few years ago.

      • Permalink  ⋅ Reply


        April 23, 2017 at 11:56am

        Ok thanks, I’d love to see inside the building. I wonder if it is all still set up for services. Did you have an opportunity to see inside?

        • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

          Monissa Whiteley

          April 23, 2017 at 12:04pm

          I didn’t. I would think it was empty now, if it hasn’t been sold.

  4. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Joy Engleson

    September 9, 2018 at 8:19am

    Hi I just want to thank Monissa and any others for their help and reply regarding my query about a 1913 marriage. Family circumstances meant I never got back to see these answers and have only just found them. We have since found out that my husbands grandfather was called Louis Arthur Engleson but he’s given his name on the marriage certificate as Augustus so would this make the marriage technically invalid? The family story is he ran away from home in Norway at only 9 years of age so there seems to be an interesting story here but not even a genealogist in Norway can find any trace so all we have is the marriage certificate and a photo of the gravestone here in SA. Thanks again. Joy

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    Don Eldridge

    June 17, 2020 at 9:25am

    I need some help please, 17/06/2020
    Mr Herbert Davies was minister of the Anglican Church in Zeehan at some time around the period of 1935. His wife was Marjorie Beth Davies, nee Caffin
    The had a child(John Davies stillborn in 1935)
    I understand the child was buried in Burnie.
    I am trying to trace when he arrived in Zeehan, and when he left, and more importantly, why he left.
    I next have him in Mentone, Melbourne, Victoria in 1945. I do not know if he was still involved in the Church.
    Then, in 1956, i have him running a caravan park in Clayton , Melbourne, Victoria.
    Any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you
    Don Eldridge

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    Ms Beverley Cook

    April 19, 2021 at 11:11pm

    Hello Don,
    This is Beverley, sister of Rosalyn Muir. I just happened to come across your questions when researching my parents’ time in Tasmania. To give you some info…
    Yes, my father was the Anglican minister at Zeehan, this being his second ministry position in Tasmania, the first being Bernie, after their marriage in Melbourne at St John’s, Toorak in 1933.
    Mum was always called Beth, even though it’s her middle name.
    Yes, their first child, a boy, died at birth, and his grave is at Wivenhoe Cemetery. Rosalyn and her husband Keith visited this site, early 2000, and have a photo of his grave.
    Your questions of when he arrived at Zeehan: I can only guess, they being in Tazzy from ’33 to ’37, and his duty at Bernie would have been 1 1/2 – 2 years, then he was relocated to the west coast at Zeehan.
    Why he left Zeehan: that I don’t know, they never said anything definite but, again, were relocated to the church at Landsborough in Victoria, on the main-land; this was when Rosalyn was 3-mths-old. I was born at the Ararat hospital in July of 1939. (The Anglican Church officers in Melbourne were ‘in charge’ of all positions of CofE churches in Tasmania, at that time, it seems, for all orders for repositioning came from there.)
    While still a Minister, the 2nd W.W. started, so father now got out of the church and enlisted in the Australian Army, and was away till 1946. His last job was being an officer working at the Murchison POW & Internment Camp, northern Victoria. At the end of the War (1945) it did take some time to repatriate all the prisoners back to their own countries, Italy being one of many. Then some men, within a year or so, returned to Australia, together with their families and settled here to work the ground, for many were from market-gardening, orchard and vineyard families – and these their families still produce much fruit and wine in Victoria and New South Wales areas.
    Mentone: On his return to civilian life, he worked at Social Services, both in the Frankston office then in Melbourne city for some eight or so years.
    In 1956: Yes, he set up a caravan park in Springvale South. (Clayton is near, being only some three miles away.) This park is still there, being greatly expanded into a big business called ‘Caravan Court’ on Springvale Road.
    They sold this business in 1962, and moved up to the mountains at Upper Beaconsfield, from where I left to get married in July of 1963.
    I have emailed Rosalyn, and she is pleased to have this contact with you again.
    Beverley Cook

  7. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Mrs. Rosalyn Muir

    April 20, 2021 at 10:02am

    Hi Don, great to read your enquiry about my father Herbert Davies. Mum and Dad were married on 28th May 1934 at St. John’s Church, Toorak, near Melbourne, and then moved to Tasmania soon after. They first stayed in Burnie where Dad assisted Rev. McCabe with his church there. It was in Burnie that their first child was born in 1935, a boy “John” who did not survive the birth day. It was a huge loss for the two young people to carry, but then there was a move to Zeehan, where Dad was Rector and on his own fo serve his congregations of Rosebery, Strahan and Tullah. Their Rectory at St. Luke’s was cold and always damp, according to Mum’s Story. She said the house had several rooms added when a previous Rector had added a bedroom each time his wife had delivered a new child! But then Mum had a second child on 15th January 1937 Rosalyn Ann (me!). Mum’s autobiography is very descriptive of their early life in Tasmania. Don, I hope to make contact again.

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