The Anglican Parish of the Huon is the southernmost parish in the Anglican Church in Australia. It has its beginnings in 1839 with the consecration of a wooden church (St Mary’s) built for the settlement by Lady Franklin. St Mary’s was replaced by St John’s Church, designed by the great Pugin disciple Henry Hunter which was consecrated in May 1864. Sadly, St John’s church was deconsecrated on August 10 in 2014.
In the 1840s there was also a stone church at Southport associated with the Probation Station. The first church of St James’, Ranelagh was built in 1853 in brick. This was replaced by another Hunter designed timber church in 1880, which was unfortunately destroyed by fire in 1885.
The current church building was completed in 1896. The existing church was consecrated by Bishop Montgomery on the 8th of November 1896. It is now heritage listed.
By the second half of the 19th Century the Parish included the Huon Valley, the Channel and the Far South with 12 church centres. It was a big area on horseback or foot for a rector. Towards the end of the latter half of the 19th century Cygnet-Channel became a separate parish, and by the 1940’s the Huon had become three parishes all with rectories — in Franklin, Geeveston and Esperance.
The latter half of the 20th century saw a gradual amalgamation back into one parish. In recent times many church buildings have been either closed or destroyed by bush fires. These include St Andrew’s Mountain River, St David’s Crabtree, St Peter’s Cradoc, St Andrew’s Port Huon, St Bartholomew’s Strathblane, Southport & Glendevie, St Paul’s Dover, St John’s Franklin, St Peter's Geeveston and St Luke's, Judbury.
Currently about 50 people regularly worship each Sunday at St James Ranelagh. Set in a picturesque landscape of sweeping hills, rivers, mountains and fertile dales, the Valley is known for its diversity in agriculture, fisheries and forestry. The area borders the Hartz Mountains and South West National Park.
Information for people researching their family tree (including Baptismal records) can be gained from the State Library of Tasmania.
We are a part of the Anglican Diocese of Tasmania. Click here to visit their website.