Saturday, 18 February 2017

Supply River Methodist Church

In 1857, a man who lay dying in the bush at Supply River requested the services of a minister. Thomas Travers, understanding the man’s needs, rode into Launceston, along unmade roads and crossing creeks by way of fords and brought back Rev T.B.Harris. This opened the way for the beginning of religious services at Supply River.

Initially, the first religious services, which began later in 1857, were held on week nights in the home of Mr William Brown. Soon monthly services, taken by a visiting minister from Launceston, began. In between the visits from the Launceston minster, sunday services were conducted by local laymen ministers, Messrs Bartram, Brown, Kerrison & Travers.

The Supply River Methodist Church was constructed in 1861. William Brown, Thomas Travers & Stephen Kerrison each donated 50 pounds towards the construction costs of the new church and this was augmented by donations from other interested locals who gave what they could afford. The church is typical of small Tasmanian timber churches built in the mid to late 19th century using split palings and hand made nails.

There was great enthusiasm for the work of the church in the late 19th century. Bush missionaries and laymen ministers conducted revival services and people walked from miles around the little church for meetings which packed out the church building. In fact, at times, ministers addressed the gathered crowds through the open windows of the church. These meetings sometimes would not finish until around midnight.

In 1911, the Rev George Wong, in his address at the Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Introduction of Methodism on the West Tamar with the opening of the Supply River Church said “All took part, the young as well as the old. The pulpit, a gift from a friend, was landed at Blackwell. There was not a chaise cart in the district, to put it on a bullock was too great a risk so four young stalwart men carried it the six miles very carefully”

Conservation work was carried out on the gravestones in the graveyard in early 2004as part of a number of Tasmanian Government funding programs. The little church remains an active part of the local community to this day and is in wonderful condition and situated in a beautifully picturesque location. The church was the first Methodist Church constructed in the West Tamar Valley. It is also considered the oldest Methodist Church in Tasmania.

Main Text & Information Source – 
Interpretive Signs at the Site.

Historical Photo Source –