Sunday, 6 March 2016

Old Congregational Church, Kempton

The Congregational Church is a simple stone Georgian building that was built in 1840 by the Van Diemen's Land Missionary Society at a cost of 500 pounds under the leadership of the Reverend Joseph Beazley. It is said that the material used to construct the chapel had been taken from a ruined Church of England. Beazley had chosen Green Ponds as the headquarters for the district with chapels also constructed at The Hunting Ground, Bagdad & Richmond.

Reverend Beazley worked tirelessly to build up large congregations for all the chapels. A sabbath school was instituted with further additions made to the rear of the chapel in order to create a school room, meeting room and vestry. This creates an unusual feature for the chapel of having two high windows at the rear and the incorporation of a chimney.

In 1840, many of the so called "Canadian Rebels", who were working at the Green Ponds Probation Station at the time, attended church at this chapel and the Reverend Beazley was 'most pleased with them".

The accompanying cemetery behind the chapel contains the graves of many of the early Green Ponds settlers including Phillip Pitt, William Henry Ellis & Joseph Johnson.

The chapel remains intact and in good condition and it is an integral part of the main road streetscape of Kempton. Although the chapel building is no longer used as a church, it remains in private hands as a private residence.

Main Text, Information & Historic Photo Sources - 
Interpretive Sign at the site
Australian Heritage Database