St James’ Catholic Church, Cygnet (2)

Mary Street, Cygnet. Approximate location on Google Maps (it won’t recognise the church building as an address).
Opened 1940.


History of parish & church on Huon Valley Catholic Parish web site.

There seem to have been four Catholic churches at Cygnet. The first a weatherboard, possible temporary, building erected in the early 1860s. This was replaced in 1867 by a more a more substantial small weatherboard church, St James. In 1903 a stone church, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, was constructed which incorporated the older building. This was later demolished and the current St James built in 1940.


Cygnet Catholic Church
The tender of James Dunn and Son, of Hobart, at £5,656; has been accepted for the erection of the new Roman Catholic Church building at Cygnet. The building will cover an area of 120ft. by 40ft. The front will face Mary St., and the building will be of brick. Work will commence early next month.
The Mercury, 8 December 1939

Evidence of progress is being shown by the new buildings now under construction during the past week. The old Catholic Church has been demolished and builders are busy preparing the foundation of the new church, which is to be of brick.
Huon & Derwent Times, 18 January 1940


This is the foundation stone for the former Catholic church at Cradoc. For many years this church served the people of that district and after its deconstruction the foundation stone was preserved and placed here next to the Church of St James in memory of those who had worshipped there.


A.M.D.G This stone was blessed and placed by His Grace the Archbishop of Hobart, the Most Reverend J.D. Simons D.D D.Ph, 18 February 1940


Setting Of Stone
Before a large and representative gathering, the ceremony of blessing and setting the foundation stone of the new Roman Catholic Church at Cygnet, which ls to replace the old building recently demolished, was, performed by the Archbishop of Hobart (the Most Rev. Dr. J. D. Simonds) yesterday. Among those present were: The Premier (Mr. Cosgrove), the Treasurer (Mr. Dwyer-Gray), the Attorney-General (Mr. Ogilvie), the Minister for Agriculture . (Mr. D’Alton), Senator Darcy, Mr. C. W Frost, M.H.R., the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. H.. S. Baker), Messrs. Leo Doyle, B. O. Plummer, and F. McDermott, Ms.H.A., the Master Warden of the Hobart Marine Board (Mr. T. J. McKinley), and the Revs. T. J. O’Donnell. F’ H. J. Kent, L. R. Sherry, Casey (Bathurst; N.S.W.), Hanlon, Wallace, W. Ryan, and the Wardens of Cygnet and Huon (Messrs. L. T. Barwlck, and G. C. Frankcomb). The ceremony was preceded by a procession led from the Presbytery to the site of the new church by three altar boys, the Archbishop, and Fathers Sherry and Kent .

Father Kent, Introducing the Archbishop, said that in February, 1903, the foundation stone of the old church had been set by the late Archbishop Murphy. He paid tribute to the pioneers of the church at Cygnet, many of whom, he said, had. come from Ireland, and continued to work for the ideals-of the church in their adopted country. In the past 37 years, they had erected three schools and two convents in the district. The Archbishop said that the late Father Arthur Cullen had collected £2.000 towards the attainment of n new church. The present, pastor prepared plans and specifications for a church, but the war started just as the work was about to begin. In the first days of the war an appeal was made by the leaders of the National Government urging the people to pursue a policy of “business as usual,” lest the nation’s interior economic life should become unbalanced by a sudden cessation of normal business activity. In response to this appeal, and with the consciousness that they were undertaking a work for the spiritual benefit of the district, the parter and people of Cygnet had decided to proceed with the building project.

Father O’Donnell moved that a subscription list he opened to liquidate the debt on the new church. He referred to the work of the late Arthur Cullen for Catholic schools and convents of the district. The Premier said everyone admired the spirit of the people of Cygnet in deciding at such a time to proceed with the project. Mr. Barwick, on-behalf of the municipality, congratulated parishioners on their enterprise. A collection was then taken up,and Mr. Poyle read lists of contributions, the total amount of which reached £537.
The Mercury, 19 February 1940

Opening Next Sunday
The new Roman Catholic Church of St James at Cygnet will be blessed and opened by the Archbishop of Hobart (the Most Rev. Dr J. D Simonds on Sunday. Built of brick on reinforced concrete foundations, the church, the contract price for which was £5,655, is on a commanding site opposite the public buildings The general effect Is reminiscent of the smaller churches of Spain, and an external feature of Importance is the bell tower. In Die base of which Is the baptistry.

The interior Is complete with the baptistry and choir gallery at one end, and the sanctuary at the other, opening upon which are the sacristies and Sisters’ Chapel. Provision has been made for a permanent “Crib,” and there are two small side chapels. Special features of the Interior are the Internal buttresses, which give space for extra seating The timber used for the celling, furniture sanctuary fittings, pulpit, and altar rails is Tasmanian oak. The architects were Messrs J D Moore and V L Dowling, Sydney, and the builders James Dunn and Sons, Hobart.
The Mercury, 4 October 1940


The opening and blessing of the new Catholic Church at Cygnet took place on Sunday in the presence of a very large number of residents oft he municipality, and visitors from all parts of the Huon and Hobart:The ceremony was performed by His Grace, Most Rev. Dr. J. D. Simonds,and he was supported by many of the Catholic clergy from all parts of Tasmania. The one comment on the appearance of the new building was that it was one of the most beautiful churches in the country in Tasmania and a lasting tribute to the loyalty and sincerity of the people of the parish who for 40 years past have been looking forward to the provision of a worthy place of worship for themselves and their descendents. At the conclusion of the ceremonies it was announced that donations towards the extinction of the debt of £6500 on the building had amounted to £560.

Huon & Derwent Times, 10 October 1940


2 thoughts on “St James’ Catholic Church, Cygnet (2)

  1. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Anne Vellone

    September 7, 2019 at 5:58pm

    Hi There,
    We are a small publishing house in Toronto, Canada. I came across these beautiful images of St. James Church, Cygnet. I would like to inquire about permission for usage to have one appear in a special book project I am working on about the Camino de Santiago.
    Please contact me for more information.

    Look forward to hearing from you as I will be going to press in a couple weeks.
    Thank you Anne

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply

      Monissa Whiteley

      September 14, 2019 at 12:50am

      Oh, I missed this. Do you still need it?

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