(site of) Independent Chapel, Tamar St, Launceston


Tamar St, Launceston. Google Maps.
Opened 1837. Adjoining hall opened 1896. Church demolished 1920.

From “The Days Of Our Youth, Early Launceston: the early churches”:
The Congregationalists were represented in the first instance by the Rev. Charles Price, who arrived at Launceston in September, 1832, and on the 23rd of that month preached for the first time in the Court House, which was then in Cameron-street, near where the post office now stands. After staying four months, Mr. Price went to Sydney, re turning in 1836. He obtained a grant of 3/4-acre of land in Tamar-street, and in September of the following year the Tamar-street Church was erected at a cost of about £1300. In 1842 a second Congregationalist Church (the present “Milton Hall”) was opened by the Rev. John West (Tasmania’s historian), who arrived in the colony in 1838, having been sent by the Colonial Missionary Society. Services in the meantime were held in the infant school-room in Frederick-street. Mr. Price, in addition to labouring gratuitously for 14 years, built in 1848, at his own expense, the little Wycliffe chapel in Vincent-street, off St. John-street, for the greater convenience of some aged members of his congregation. In 1858 he also induced his Tamar-street adherents to erect a chapel at Inveresk.
Examiner, 17 March 1906

View from Windmill Hill, 1860s, showing Tamar Street. Chapel is the larger building on the right of the street
(cropped from photo in QVMAG Collection, QMV:1983:P:1196)

Independent Church (left) & Price Memorial Hall (from QVMAG Collection, QMV:1986:P:0247)

More photos:
Chapel & hall (EHive)

From the obituary of Rev. Charles Price:
Mr Price reached Launceston on April 29, 1836, and set to work with undiminished vigour. Proceeding to Hobart, he obtained from Governor Arthur a piece of land in Tamar-street for a chapel site, and collected £130 towards its erection. Returning to Launceston he opened a grammar school as a means of support, which for 26 years maintained a high reputation for the sound training imparted to the scholars. On October 4 he assisted at the formation of the first temperance society in Launceston, being appointed president. Mr Price is the last survivor of the active workers who laid the foundations of this social reform. On October 28 steps were taken to form an Independent church, and eighteen persons united as the first flock. In November a contract for £1300 was let for the erection of the Tamar-street church, and on January 29, 1837, a Sunday school was opened with nine children and eleven volunteer teachers. The Tamar-street chapel was opened for public worship on September 6, 1837, the land and building being in January, 1840, vested in seven trustees for church purposes. In 1848 Mr Price erected the old Wycliffe chapel, in Vincent-street, at his own expense, and in 1858 the Tamar-street congregation built a church at Inveresk, where services were conducted on Sunday afternoon for some years, a Sunday school being still carried on there.
Launceston Examiner, 5 August 1891


The Independent Chapel in this town was opened yesterday. In its completed slate it is a very handsome edifice ; and it is only to be regretted that it does not face the end of Cameron-street, instead of occupying its present site.
Launceston Advertiser, 7 September 1837

Price Memorial Hall.-The opening services at this hall, erected by the friends of the Tamar-street Church to commemorate the life and 50 years’ labours of the late Rev. C. Price, will be held to-morrow. A prayer meeting will take place at 7 a.m., and the services in the morning (at 11) and evening (at seven) will be conducted by the present pastor, the Rev. J. G. Wright. In the afternoon a service of praise will beheld, when the speakers will be the Revs. J. G. Wright, sen., and W. Law. A public tea will be held on Tuesday at 6.3(1. The hall presents a very pleasing appearance now that it has been completed. The electric light has been fitted up, the lamps consisting of one 50 c.p., 10 32’s, and four 16’s, which illuminate it brilliantly. In consequence of these special services at the new hall there will be no service at Christ Church to-morrow evening.
Launceston Examiner, 9 May 1896

Demolishing an Old Church.
A link with the early days of Launceston is shortly to be removed, the committee of the city council having decided that the old Independent Church, near the entrance to the City Park in Tamar-street, should be demolished. However the building is to be utilised for the last time as a place where visitors to Launceston on the occasion of the visit of the Prince of Wales on June 23 may obtain refreshments. Then the 83-year-old walls will be razed to the ground. The property was purchased some time ago by the city council, and tenders invited for the lease of it, but none were received. The land will prove an addition to the City Park. There is an interesting history attached to this old building. The Rev. Charles Price arrived in Launceston in September, 132, and preached his first sermon in the Courthouse, which was then situated where the Post Office now stands. His congregation numbered so few that Mr. Price decided to go to Sydney, but in 1836 he returned, and succeeded in obtaining a grant of a quarter of an acre of land in Tamar-street to erect the church, which still stands. While in Hobart he collected £180 towards the project. Mr. Price then rented a brick house in St. John-street, opposite the Quadrant where he held services for a time but afterwards obtained the use of the Government School House (subsequently used as Trinity school-room), in Cameron-street. In September, 1837, the Tamar-street church was opened for public worship. The total cost of the building, which combined within its wails chapel, school, and ministers residence, was £1300. Mr. Henry Reed, of Launceston, and the Hon. W. P. Weston, of Longford, each contributed £100 to towards the costs while for 14 years Mr. Price preached gratuitously, devoting all the offerings towards paying off the debt, and at the same time opened a grammar school as a means of support for himself and family. In 1848 he built at his own expense the little Wycliffe chapel, in Vincent-street, off St. John-street and ten years later induced his Tamar-street adherents to erect a chapel at Inveresk. In 1891, after being pastor of Tamar-street Church for 55 years, Mr. Price died. In 1896 the Price Memorial Hall was erected beside the old church, which was then used for Sunday school purposes until a few years ago.

Examiner, 21 May 1920

Wycliffe Chapel
Milton Hall

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