Meander Valley Gazette

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Beneath the Seven Sisters

NewsJoanne EisemannComment
  Pat Hobman, secretary of Parish Council and Shirley Hancox retired Parish Council member, both of Westbury, view the magnificent Nellie Payne carving ‘Seven Sisters Screen’. Nellie, one of nine daughters, carved this piece in memory of her 7 deceased sisters when she was 72. Installed in 1938, the screen is one of many significant carvings by Nellie located in the Anglican Church in Westbury. The church will hold an open day on the 21st July for people wanting to view the works.

Pat Hobman, secretary of Parish Council and Shirley Hancox retired Parish Council member, both of Westbury, view the magnificent Nellie Payne carving ‘Seven Sisters Screen’. Nellie, one of nine daughters, carved this piece in memory of her 7 deceased sisters when she was 72. Installed in 1938, the screen is one of many significant carvings by Nellie located in the Anglican Church in Westbury. The church will hold an open day on the 21st July for people wanting to view the works.

July 2018 | Joanne Eisemann

PARISHIONERS FROM the Anglican Parish of Quamby are hopeful they will be able to prevent the sale of churches in their parish.

Sales of Anglican churches statewide have been proposed by the Anglican Diocese of Tasmania to fund the Sexual Abuse Redress Scheme.

The Diocese predicts that it will need $8 million to provide redress to the ‘significant number of child sexual abuse cases taking place in the 1960s, 70s and 80s’.

The Carrick, Hagley and Westbury Anglican Churches are among a long list of properties that are being considered for sale.

At a meeting with Bishop Condie in May, parishioners were informed that an alternative for them was to raise approximately $200,000, the portion of money that would be used from the sale of properties (25 percent) to fund the Redress Scheme.

Members of the Anglican Parish of Quamby believe they have a viable plan to raise the money required in an effort to stop the property sales.

‘We are mildly confident that we have a workable proposal to put forward to the Diocese and are hoping that other community groups and individuals will support us by lodging submissions to the Diocesan Council”, said Quamby Parish Council member Rob Menzie, adding “We want to make it clear that we are not against the Redress Scheme, we support it, we just want to find a way of doing that without selling our places of worship.”

Two of the Churches in the Quamby Parish have significant historical value.

St Mary’s Anglican Church in Hagley has the first Tasmanian born premier, Sir Richard Dry buried in the chancel (near the alter) of the church. Sir Richard grew up on nearby Quamby Estate and was Premier from 1866 until he died in 1869, aged 58.

With a foundation stone laid in 1836, St Andrew’s Church in Westbury is one of the oldest churches in Tasmania. It also houses a significant collection of the work of world-renowned wood carver Nellie Payne.

Nellie, born at ‘Westfield’ in 1865, was closely involved with the church throughout her life.

In 2015 an exhibition of 240 pieces of her work was shown over three locations in Westbury, including the church and attracting 7,000 visitors.

When asked to put a value on the church’s collection, parishioner and ex-Quamby Parish Council member Shirley Hancox says “the collection of carvings is priceless.”

Dr Dianne Snowden, speaking to The Examiner in an article printed last month, said “this church is of great significance not only to the Westbury community but to the whole of Tasmania.

“It is an integral part of our colonial and convict history and it should be protected and respected as part of our heritage.”

For those wanting to see the carvings, the church will hold an open day on the 21st July to coincide with the next Westbury Market day.

Community groups, or individuals who wish to make a representation to the church’s governing body (Diocesan Council), about church property proposed for sale, can address their submission to the General Manager of the Diocese at Registry@anglicantas.org.au. Submissions must be made before 1st September 2018.

Other Meander Valley properties on the proposed list for sale are: Church of the Good Shepherd, 59 Main St, Hadspen; Fencing Paddock, Meander Valley Highway, Carrick; Vacant Land, 19 Meander Valley Road, Carrick; Saleyards, 9 East Westbury Place, Deloraine; St Michael’s Church, Kimberley Road, Kimberley; St Saviour Church, Hall & Cemetery, 143 Main Road, Meander; and Vacant Land, Lot 7 Bass Highway, Elizabeth Town.

Photo | Mike Moores