The following information
is taken from a booklet produced to mark the Centenary of the church in 1973.
The Reverend John Burrows
B.A., the first Chaplain of Pontville, Van Diemans Land 1840-1876 was
instrumental during his latter years in having the Church of St. Mary Built.
Services were held from 1846 in South Bridgewater. There are early references
to St. Peterís Church in the 1840ís. In the early 1860ís, presumably because no
services were being conducted, the Rector of Brighton was asked to take an
afternoon service each Sunday. This led to the present Church being built, to
be a milestone in the history of the district. The architect of the Church was a
Mr. H.R. Baston, who drew up the plans in 1862. The Governor of Tasmania,
Colonel T. Gore-Browne laid the foundation stone on February 12th,
Unfortunately, gales damaged
the partly built walls of the building and in February, 1863, an appeal was
launched to restore the damage. It took 10 years to complete. On October 18th
1873 Bishop C. H. Bromby D.D. formally opened and dedicated the church to St.
It is recorded that 200
persons, four fifths of whom were Church of England, lived within two miles of
The cost of the land on which
St. Maryís was built was 35 pounds and the Church itself cost 450 pounds. Half
the cost was met by subscribers, including parishioners, most of whom were poor
workers and labourers.
Bridgewater became part of the
Glenorchy Parish in 1876 when a new Rector of Brighton, the Reverend F.B.
Sharland B.A. was appointed. Later, when re-included in the Brighton Parish a
letter was sent to the Rector of Glenorchy, the Reverend W. Dodson, by the three
Church wardens, Messrs. Edward Ricketts, A. Barwick, W.A. Wood, deploring the
The Church was renovated in
1916 and in 1960 major work was carried out on underpinning the Church
foundations followed by extensive drainage work to help in its preservation.
Floor repairs and redecoration was carried out in 1962-1963. In 1971 the church
was redecorated and a new carpet purchased due to the efforts of every member of
the church. The roof was painted in 1972. At this time the door to St. Maryís
was never locked so that parishioners and visitors could enter at any time.
It is really sad to see this
beautiful little church today with its broken windows and even though all the
furniture was removed vandals have gained entry and the walls are now adorned
with graffiti. The cemetery itself is well maintained and is well worth a
this cemetery were photographed 4 Jan 2004