(former) Independent Chapel, St John’s Square, Launceston


Built 1842 to replace a smaller wooden chapel.
Known as St Johns Chapel, later Princes Square Chapel
Replaced in 1885 by new and larger Christ Church next door (on the left in the photo), and became Milton Hall.

Photo while in use.


Towards the close of 1838 the Rev. John West arrived in Tasmania, having been sent out with the Rev. Alexander Morison, now of Melbourne, by the Colonial Missionary Society to carry on mission work in the northern districts of this island. Whilst thus engaged Mr. West occasionally preached in Launceston, where he gradually gathered around him a band of earnest fellow workers, who ware charmed by his gentle winning manner and his deep thoughtful teaching. On 12th June, 1840, the church fellowship was formed, consisting of eight male and ten female members, one of the latter being the sole survivor to-day. The infant church met for worship in the Infant School whilst a small wooden chapel was being prepared in Frederick-street-the same that, after being converted into dwelling houses, was recently demolished by order of the Municipal Council. Soon the little chapel failed to provide sufficient accommodation, and a larger and more commodious building was projected. An admirable site near by was purchased, and on Thursday, 2nd September, 1841, the foundation stone of what is now spoken of as the old church was laid by the Rev. H. Dowling (Baptist), Mr. West offering prayer and delivering an address. In the evening Mr. Dowling preached to a large audience. The building proceeded rapidly, and on the evening of Friday, 12th August, 1812, the dedication service was held, the Rev. Joseph Beasley Congregational minister of Green Ponds (afterwards pastor of Redfern Church, Sydney), preaching. On the following Sunday, August 14, three services were hold, conducted respectively by Revs. H. Dowling, J. Beazley, and James Garrett (Presbyterian).
Launceston Examiner, 20 October 1885


A MEETING was held on Friday last amongst the members of the Independent Chapel, Frederick-street, for the purpose of taking steps to erect a new chapel upon an allotment of ground adjoining the residence of Mr. Sams. It was unanimously agreed that the present chapel is far too small for the rapidly-encreasing congregation, and that another more commodious should be immediately commenced. The almost incredible sum of £580 was subscribed by the members and congregation present. We have often had occasion to extol the spirit of liberality which is so universally displayed amongst our little community, in all matters either of religion or education. There is not a place in the world where, in comparison with the number of inhabitants, so many places of worship could be found. In addition to this intended chapel, there is a handsome church being erected for the Catholics, on the square at the foot of the Cataract Hill. The Wesleyan Chapel, Patterson-street, the Independent Chapel, Ta mar-street, and the Chapel in Frederick-street, the Baptist Chapel in York-street, and the Catholic Chapel in Cameron-street, have all been built within the last four or five years, and principally by public subscription.
Launceston Advertiser, 15 April 1841

Launceston Advertiser 1 July 1841
Launceston Advertiser 1 July 1841


The Ceremony of laying the foundation stone of a new Independent Chapel in the Church Square, took place on Thursday afternoon. A large concourse of people assembled on the occasion and after singing a variety of hymns, they were addressed by the Rev. Mr. West, who commented in a most appropriate manner upon the ceremony they were performing, and entered into a brief exposition of the tenets and principles of the religion for the purposes of which the new Chapel was about being erected. The Rev. Henry Doming, Baptist Minister, also officiated at the ceremony and subsequently addressed a large congregation at the Independent Chapel in Frederick-street. An Inscription commemorative of the event was enclosed in a bottle and deposited under the foundation stone. It was announced for the especial information of those who might, through the depression of the times, be stimulated to follow the example of the depredators who purloined the coins placed under the foundation stone or the New Norfolk College, that the bottle, besides the inscription, contained only a solitary four-penny piece.
Launceston Courier, 6 September 1841

Launceston Examiner 6 August 1842
Launceston Examiner, 6 August 1842

From the back, the chapel is the building on the left.  The right hand building is the larger church.

Cornwall Chronicle 27 August 1842
Cornwall Chronicle, 27 August 1842

Internal photos from 8 September 2018:

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