Sunday, 15 November 2015

Scots Church, Sorell

Built by the Presbyterian church after representations were made to Governor Franklin in the 1830’s.The church was planned after the appointment of Rev Thomas Dugall to Sorell in 1839 when services at the time were being held in the Sorell courthouse. The foundation stone was laid in 1840 and the building completed in 1842 to a design by James Blackburn, with gabled roof, a central tall square tower, semi-circular arch-topped entrance and buttresses. Windows are tall and multi-paned, with arched tops, and simple, engaged columns at the sides. The northern facade has a fine, central recessed window, and flanking columns in relief.

Located in Arthur Street is described in the National Estate Register as "A sandstone Romanesque Revival church. The total cost for the finished church was 1415 pounds which came from public donations and via government contribution with the bell for the new church being donated by local land holder, George Marshall. An unusual stone church which is a fine example of Blackburn's work."

Difficulties in securing the services of a minister resulted in the church being unused for many years and the building ultimately fell into disrepair. Ministerial shortages continued to plague the church through to the 1920’s. It was restored in 1960-1961 by a group of volunteer workers with assistance from the National Trust and the government, successfully bring the church back to a safe standard to allow the church to receive heritage classification by the National Trust.

The church site has been surrounded by the construction of retirement units that were first constructed in 1968 and have been added to over the following years.

The Scots Church building has been considered to be the finest of the 3 National Estate Register listed churches in Sorell with its unusual design and is regarded as one of the earliest Romanesque churches in Australia.

Main Text & Information Source – 
Sorell Heritage Study, Site Inventory Vol 5 – Sorell City Council