Wednesday, 8 July 2015

St Peter's Church, New Norfolk

St Peter's Catholic Church was built on land granted by the government in 1864, following approaches by Bishop R.W. Wilson. When the foundation stone was finally laid by Bishop Murphy in 1885, over 1000 people turned out to witness the historic occasion. They came from as far away as Hamilton, Ouse, Brighton & Richmond.

The building was finally completed in 1887, during the ministry of Father Bernard Murphy at an overall cost of 2200 pounds.It was designed by renowned Hobart architect, Henry Hunter and constructed by John Thurley of New Norfolk. The sandstone used during the construction was quarried from the properties of locals, Mr A.T.W Downie & Major Lloyd.

The first Catholic mass to be held in New Norfolk had been performed by Father Philip Connolly in 1821. Many of the Catholics of early New Norfolk were assigned convicts and ticket of leave people. About 1850, Rockhampton House (now known as Norfolk Lodge) in the High St was purchased by the Catholic church to be used as a presbytery and chapel. Services were conducted there for many years until the construction of St Peter's.

St Peter's is a simple, functional sandstone building of enormous elegance. It's bright interior is clean and uncluttered, everything highlighting the exposed beams of oregon timber and baltic pine ceiling. Beautiful stained glass windows are a major feature of this beautiful church.

While the young congregation was not particularly wealthy, the combined efforts of the New Norfolk parishoners achieved a great deal in the name of the Catholic church. The magnificent property, Corumbine, was purchased in 1925 and construction of St Brigid's Convent School in the grounds commenced shortly after. In 1939, the current presbytery was constructed next door to St Peter's.

St Peter's occupies a clear, high position in the town, overlooking the Derwent River and is a extremely important component of the New Norfolk streetscape. It continues to provide an important service to the New Norfolk community. From its elevated position. the church surveys the scene of so much of the Derwent Valley's past, present & future.

Main Text & Information Source - 
"From Black Snake To Bronte" - Audrey Holiday & John Trigg

Updated 23 March 2016
Thank you to Lauren Patey who very kindly emailed me with some background information about Rockhampton House that is mentioned in the text.
Lauren said "As an aside to your comments regarding St Peter's  church in New Norfolk and the church's Ć cquisition of a place named Rockhampton House  (now Norfolk House). This establishment's name was  changed in 1999 to All Saints and Sinners  Colonial Bed and Breakfast, and the current name as of 2016 is Saints and Sinners - - current  owners Vicki and Kevin Daw.
It is  hotchpotch collection of 3 buildings - a 2 story 1900s boarding house connected to what I believe may have been a licenced premises (possibly revoked during the temperance phase) connected to the first catholic chapel..lots of Saints n SiƱners and the odd ghost as well!"
Thank you, Lauren for your wonderful contribution. You can check out the Saints & Sinners B&B by following this link - Saints & Sinners B&B