St. Saviour's,
Church of England, Tarnagulla.

Written by Donald W. Clark.
Taken from "Tarnagulla - A History" which he compiled in 1985.

St. Saviours Church of England

St. Saviours, Church of England, March 2000.

During the week ending 9th January, 1858, Rev Richard Stephens, Church of England Minister at Dunolly held a meeting at Joseph Mashfords, Southern Cross Hotel at Sandy Creek, to consider the best method of erecting a schoolhouse in connection with the Church of England. It was decided to take up subscriptions and within a week 70 pounds had been collected from all denominations. On 17th January, 1858, the first school was opened in Sandy Creek in a slab hut at the rear of a block of land on which the Colonial Bank was built at a later date. The new building for which the subscriptions were collected, was completed in the following May, and on Wednesday, 16th June 1858, a tea meeting was held in the new Schoolroom as a sort of initiation to the Church of England services being held there. A dispute arose, as it was claimed the building of the school house was supported by all denominations and not for the exclusive use of the Church of England. This forced the Church people to find other premises for worship, such as Ropers, the undertakers in Commercial Road.

The Schoolhouse was destroyed by a violent storm on Sunday, October 2nd, 1859. Mr. Harper built a new schoolhouse, east of Commercial Road, at the rear of Allisons, and later sold it to the Church of England Trustees. This building was 50 ft by 25 feet, of pine weatherboard sides, unlined, with pine floor and shingle roof. It had no fire place.

On November 26th, 1861, the Bishop of Melbourne arrived at Tarnagulla at 4.30pm and held Litany and Baptismal services in the Welsh Chapel, kindly loaned for the occasion, when 25 to 30 children were baptised. A tea meeting was held in the new Church of England School afterwards, when 180-200 persons attended. On Tuesday evening of April, 1862, the Archdeacon of Castlemaine performed a Baptismal Service in the Schoolroom and informed the gathering that arrangements had been made for a permanent Minister to reside at Sandy Creek.

The Rev. W Chalmers was appointed to the Parish of Inglewood, Tarnagulla and Newbridge. Following his appointment the congregation increased considerably and with it the desire for a more suitable structure. Three wealthy churchmen subscribed between them 130 pound in order that a suitable place of worship could be proceeded with, and during the ministry of Rev. Chalmers the main body of the new Church was built. On Wednesday, June 15th, 1864, the cornerstone of the new Church was laid by Archdeacon Crawford of Castlemaine, who dedicated it as the Church of the Holy Saviour. Mr Papineau placed a copy of 'The Argus' dated 14/6/1864, 'The Dunolly, Tarnagulla and St Arnaud Express' of June 9th, 1864, and 'Tarnagulla & Llanelly Courier' of l1th June, 1964 in a zinc case which was placed in the receptacle provided for it, before the stone was lowered.

The contractors for the building were Davis & Trevascus for the sum of 100 pounds. On November 16th, 1864, the Church was opened for the first Divine Service by Archdeacon Crawford - 200 persons were present and the choir was assisted by the Tarnagulla Philharmonic Society.

The main part of the Church had been built, but the porches, organ, fences and bell were added later. Bricks for the building were made and supplied by Mr John Theobald of Gladstone St., Tarnagulla, from his brick kiln. Two members of the Church, Messrs Hammond and Eli Summers, presented the congregation with a very fine toned bell, weighting nearly two hundred weights. The bell was used for many years as the fire alarm for the local Fire Brigade until the Brigade obtained its own bell in 1892. The School built by Mr Harper was removed from the original site in 1917 and was reconstructed as a Sunday School in the church grounds, but has long since been removed from Tarnagulla.