St Thomas’ Anglican Church, Avoca


Falmouth Street, Avoca. Google maps.
Opened 1842.

Interior of St Thomas’s (Anglican) Church, Weekly Courier 18 February 1905


AVOCA.-The new episcopal church at Avoca was opened for divine service on the 8th instant, when the Rev. Mr. Richardson preached an appropriate sermon to a congregation of about one hundred and twenty persons: after service the sacrament was administered. The collection on the occasion amounted to £9 10s. The building, which is substantial as well as ornamental, has cost upwards of’ £1800; £700 was granted by government, and the balance evidences the liberality of the inhabitants of the district, who have not only found funds for the completion of the church, but have also generously contributed towards the erection of a parsonage house, which will be finished in about nine months. We rejoice to learn that the inhabitants of Avoca have at length secured a suitable place of worship and a pious pastor. We believe the Rev. Mr. Richardson is appreciated and beloved by the flock over which he has been called to preside, and it is our sincere desire that his labours among them may be abundantly blessed.
Launceston Examiner, 28 May 1842



24 thoughts on “St Thomas’ Anglican Church, Avoca

  1. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Pat Rubenach

    June 11, 2017 at 10:55am

    I was confirmed in St. Thomas’s Church in 1954 by Bishop Cranswick. My parents were married in St. Thomas’s in 1935. I attended services regularly from the age of around 16 years and ended up as one of the organists’. I left .Avoca in 1973′ but have had several trips back since. My parents and other members of our families are buried in the churchyard. It is such a beautiful building containing many family memorials. Such a shame that it will end up in disrepair, owing to lack of parishioners to remain viable.

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    Pat Rubenach

    November 27, 2017 at 7:53pm

    Nov. 26th 2017. Happy to know the church is still in use.

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    Patricia Rubenach

    January 8, 2018 at 7:33pm

    Back in Nov. 2017 I visited Avoca again and toured some of my old haunts. Was able to take some lovely photos, particularly around the church. I am deeply saddened to know that its In inedible that it will
    eventually follow St. Peter’s at Fingal, and face closure, owing to decline. My parents were married there in 1935′ and all my Mum!s siblings were baptised there as well. Along with the memorials installed, should be a music book, which I gave in memory of my grandparents, back in the 1960’s. The building dates back to 1841.

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    Barbara Love

    May 18, 2018 at 3:47am

    I believe a relative on my Nans side built St Thomas Anglican Church in Avoca Tas or was involved in some way–can you confirm this or have any info please –His name was Thomas Densley
    Barbara Love

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      Geoff Dean

      August 7, 2018 at 9:41am

      I visited the church in April 2018 as Thomas Densely was apparently my great great great great grand father on my mother’s side. I believe he was the chief overseer of the stonework as he was for the church at Port Arthur. This information came from a family history of Stephen and Emily Harris entitled “They came from Somerset” compiled and published by descendents in West Wyalong, NSW.

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    Kerry Lee

    May 18, 2018 at 11:41pm

    19th May, 2018. A particularly lovely church. Is there a conservation plan for work needed to preserve this building. We were only able to appreciate it from the outside. Is there information available about the architecture, builder and interior detailing? When is it open for inspection?

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      ruth wise

      August 19, 2018 at 5:36am

      Dear Kerry, The idea was born in 1831. Governor Sir John Franklin was petitioned for a grant in aid to build a church at Avoca. Successful petition -In Oct 1838 church commissioned. Architect was James Blackburn (also designed the
      church Port Arthur). Simple in design beautifully by chiselled freestone nave, and sanctuary are a feature. Governor gave 700 pounds towards building, and townspeople raised remainder, and even had enough to build parsonage over the river. Completed church and opened on St Thomas’ Day1841.Highest pulpit in Australia, box pews with lovely little doors into each, beautiful stained windows. The furniture is of cedar. Memorial clock installed July 1939 months before outbreak of another world war. The present clock is the 2nd version as the original was destroyed in fire at Proud’s Factory in Sydney before shipping to TAS. 100 pounds was raised so that the Soldiers memorial clock could be placed in the tower. I don’t know if the church is open for inspection these days or not, sorry. Love my childhood church and I am very distressed that it is earmarked for sale for the redress scheme regarding sexual abuse victims. This decision is by present Right Reverend Bishop Richard Condie – he and the Anglican Diocese are making such a heartbreaking and emotional decision, one we will never get over, in my opinion. Regards, Ruth

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        Mary Knowles

        August 24, 2018 at 12:26pm

        Hi Ruth, I am putting together a submission from the community but can’t find the church in the Heritage Listed site. Do you know if it is Heritage Listed? I believed it was and have been told that the furniture inside was also listed but I would like to verify this. Kind regards Mary

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          Ruth Wise

          September 28, 2018 at 5:13am

          Hello Mary, Don’t know about being Heritage listed or not. I have also put a submission to the Anglican Diocese and to Bishop Condie and have a letter back to say “thanks for submission” that the Church at Avoca will be considered along with all others. I am in process of trying to obtain whether or not this church had a COVENANT on it or not, Library is searching for me, but may have to go to Lands Dept re title etc. )I am aware of another church being saved from sale because it has a covenant on it! (Document to say that the Church cannot be altered or changed in any way and it cannot be sold). I am thinking the age of the church and history behind it’s grant etc. would make it one of the oldest churches in Tasmania. Will try and find out about Heritage listing. Regards Mary, Ruth

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      Mary Knowles OAM

      August 24, 2018 at 12:21pm

      The Avoca Museum and Information Centre in the park opposite the church has a key. If AMIC is not open knock on the door of the house on the corner opposite the park (high wooden fence) and this lady can assist. Alternatively, email and I will organise a volunteer to assist

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    Pat Rubenach

    October 26, 2018 at 6:44am

    Some years before leaving Avoca, possibly in the 1960 ‘s I donated a music book in memory of my grandparents. Can you tell me what has happened to it since the closure of the church? In fact there were lots of other memorial articles given over the years. I wonder just where they end up. I would be interested in reclaiming the book if it has just been left to gather dust.

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      Prue O’Connor

      May 18, 2019 at 7:57am

      I will try to locate your grandparents music book.We are going over to the church next Friday to list the donated materials.Hope you received my letter.We are also starting the mapping of the cementries next weekend.Thankyou again for your help Kind Regards Prue

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    June Hopkins ( née Cole)

    December 14, 2018 at 5:39am

    My earliest ancestorsinAustralia were married inSt Thomas Church Avocado on 14 March 1855. They were Silas COLE ( after whom Coles bay was named) and his wife Jane MARTIN

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    judy steele

    June 10, 2019 at 5:06am

    Are you able to confirm that Thomas Densley was indeed the overseer in the making of the church. Heis my husbands great great grandfather.
    Judy Steele

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    Pat Rubenach OAM

    June 13, 2019 at 8:34pm

    I recently received a ‘phone call from Margaret advising me that St. Thomas’s will be officially closing on the 23rd .June. I would like to be in attendance, but strangely enough St.Pauls in Glenorchy which I attend will be celebrating its Sesquicentenary (150 years) on the same day. However, I do remember when St. Thomas’s Celebratied the same back in 1992 and I am still in possession of the small drinking glasses as a memento. Will be a sad day for those who have fought so long to keep a congregation, but we will always have great memories of happier times.

    glasses, which were available as a memento.

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    Jennifer Stephan

    October 14, 2019 at 7:25am

    Thomas Benjamin Densley was my 4th Great Grandfather and it is sad to understand this result for an amazing piece of Australian history, the work of our forebears and convicts.

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    David Mills

    June 10, 2020 at 2:59am

    Joseph Banks was discharged from New Town orphanage 30.6.1863 as apprentice to Rev. W. Richardson of Avoca Tas. In Dec 1873 he married Rose Beckett in Avoca. I presume it was Rev. Richardson who officiated. I have not been able to find any information about Rose Beckett prior to her marriage and having children. She may have also been an orphan taken in by Rev. Richardson. Would there be any records showing her details? Marriage register might show something. I haven’t been able to find any records in LINC Tas. prior to her childrens’ births. I hope you can help. Thank you.

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      Monissa Whiteley

      June 10, 2020 at 5:35am

      Have you found the marriage record on the library website?

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        David Mills

        July 7, 2020 at 12:37pm

        No. But according to their daughter Mabel’s birth registry record it mentions married “Dec 1873 Avoca”.

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          David Mills

          July 10, 2020 at 9:07am

          I did find her funeral record under Rosanna Banks…..says she was born in Jericho Tas about 1850.

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    David Mills

    July 14, 2020 at 12:45am

    Couldn’t find birth or marriage records for Rose (Rosanna) Beckett on library website.

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      Monissa Whiteley

      August 5, 2020 at 1:21am

      I’ll have a look when I have brain space to think about it (it might be a while!).

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        David Mills

        September 1, 2020 at 7:27am

        Thank you for your help.

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    Sue Graves

    March 17, 2021 at 3:05am

    Calvary Hospital archives has a sixteenth painting of Jesus brought to Australia by Rev Henry Richardson who built the first Church of England at Avoca . Are you able to provide any information regarding this painting / or Rev Henry Richardson particularly relating to his ministry at Avoca.
    Many thanks,

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