Holy Trinity has represented the more traditional Anglo-Catholic style of the Anglican Church within Launceston. As such Holy Trinity has maintained a via media approach to worship within the Anglican Church tradition, worshipping God through proclaiming the gospel and administering the means of Grace through our liturgical, missional , doctoral and pastoral ministry.
Holy Trinity is a city church, addressing the spiritual needs of the CBD. Holy Trinity's outreach transcends its formal parish boundary and the congregation is drawn by its pastoral care as well as family connections. Its Anglo-Catholic nature is embodied in its worship style, music and celebration of the sacraments. The provision of weekday Eucharists and quiet times of prayer are also a feature of Holy Trinity.
The Parish is keen not to be seen as a Museum, but as an evolving expression of Anglo-Catholic worship with a compassionate pastoral care for all.
Windermere, Tasmania, was named by an early settler, Dr Matthias Gaunt, who arrived in Van Diemen's Land with his family in 1831. Gaunt was granted 2 500 acres (1 000 hectares) of land on the East Tamar.
He chose not to practise medicine in the colony; instead he planted a vineyard and converted a sawmill to a flour mill. The mill was successful and its flour won a first place at the Great Exhibition in London in 1851. Gaunt's success as a miller prompted a visit from Governor Sir John Franklin in 1842, who suffered the indignity of being covered in flour let loose by two of Gaunt's sons from a loft above.
Gaunt is said to have promised his wife Frances before leaving England that, if there were no church where they settled in the colony, he would build one and name it St Matthias. The result, completed in 1843, is the charming white stone church that overlooks the Tamar at Windermere. Gaunt's gravestone is prominent in the cemetery, along with those of other early East Tamar pioneers. For many years, parishioners living along the Tamar used boats to travel to services at St Matthias Church.
St Matthias is one of Australia's oldest continually used churches and currently is attached to the Parish of Holy Trinity Launceston under the Anglican Church. Services are held at 10.30 am on the 2nd & 4th Sunday of each month.
An audio tour of 6 Pioneer Gravesites within the Graveyard is available using your Iphone or android internet accessible device when you visit the graveyard. The script and appropriate photos are available here.
Release of Holy Trinity Church History...... Visit here
This church is one of the architectural gems of Launceston. It is lovingly and sensitively maintained as an integral part of the history, culture and heritage of the city. The present building is the second on the site.
The first, where the rose garden now graces the corner of George and Cameron Streets, was built in 1842. This original building was designed by the noted convict architect Blackburn, who also designed St. Mark's Pontville and parts of St. George's Battery Point. The Stipulation of the Parish was that no convict labour was to be employed, only free artisans. Unstable foundations and an earth tremor in 1884 limited its safety, so a new church was built.
The new building, the major part of the present complex, was desined by Launceston's justly-famed master architect, Alexander North. Is is considered to be he greatest work, certainly his largest single structure and was built at a cost of £5700 by J & T. Gunn. It was completed and consecrated in 1902. Financial straits at the time of decreed that only about half the building was completed and, for over seventy years the west end was abruptly clad in galvanised iron sheets. The present narthex and offices were added in 1986 and the glass doors at the entrance and new carpet were added in 2006. However much these additions may seem an inadequate let-down to the grandeur of the older part, it has surely softened and erased the abruptness of the iron sheeting!
The opening Service for the new Holy Trinity in 1902, the orginal church can still be seen behind it.
The brickwork of the building is extraordinary, of top-class workmanship, and particularly admirable for those times before light-weight structural metal supports. It is very intricate and forms delightfully satisfying lines of light and shade, especially around the outside of the north and south turrets and the grand arches.
Alexander North, the architect, was an enthusiastic parishioner of the church and involved himself in all details of the construction and decoration of the building. The stonework was executed, to North's design by, Sylvanus Wilmot and his son Ben, well known Launceston monumental masons. They also did other readily visible works like the AMP frieze in Cameron Street, the Boer War monument in City Park, the pulpit at St Mary's Hagley and the four disciples in Holy Trinity R.C.Church at Westbury.
The triple circles work accross the East windows (symbolic of the Holy Trinity) is a particularly fine and rare piece of stone tracery.
The wood carving, again to North's design, was also done by local men, Gordon Cumming, Alex Shennan and Hugh Cunningham.
North designed the font - cover to be a model for the tower and spire of the church (which obviously, was never built).
Then there is the pulpit made of Tasmanian hardwood scaffolding which the bricklayers had used - recycling at its best! For the reredos, behind the altar, imported English oak was used, maybe to acknowledge the English heritage of the Anglican tradtion. In all cases the close co-operation between the designing architect and the working craftsmen resulted in very beautiful works of art. Even the mosaic sectile panels at the east end sanctuary were to North's design although not installed until 1950.
The interior holds many other delights; odd quirky gargoyles goggle out of the corners; the organ-loft is fun; the kings and queens be-headed way up to the arches (indicating the subservience of all ranks to God and also the equality before God of men and women - see how they swapped around); the old memorial plaques with strange stories; the sombre First World War Memorial; the crests of the Bishops who had jurisdiction, in historical order, over this Parish - first Canterbury, then Calcutta, then Australia (at Sydney), and then Van Diemen's Land. Now of course we're part of the Diocese of Tasmania.
The organ is a beauty. Originally brought out from London on the "Constance" in 1854, it was subsequently incorporated into a replacement (by a Melbourne firm) in 1887. Maintained and extended since, it is an essential accompaniment to the proper appreciation of this building, enhancing its atmosphere amazingly, indeed thrillingly.Click here to visit the Organ Historical Trust notes on this organ.
The acoustics of the building are excellent. Members of the Heritage Commission say that, acoustically, Holy Trinity is one of the top four venues in Australia for chamber music - as any who have heard some of the concerts held here can attest.
There are surprising little touches here and there on the exterior, like the strangely rounded Lady Chapel connected to the main body by an unusual arch; there's the extraordinary rose window on the eastern wall; and a chimney built into a pinnacle on the choir vestry (which used to be the curate's quarters.. 'living above the shop. so to speak). One never tires of strolling round the outside savouring the minutiae of the construction - that uppermost turret is simply exquisite and (flamboyantly) typically Alexander North.
The construction of this building was a major event in Launceston and many local families have stories from their forbears of cold wet days up on the scaffolding, of uncooperative stones, of difficult timbers, and of exacting brick laying. The whole place has a wealth of local history imbued into it. And its eventual achievement was a source of great pride to the workers involved. Indeed the building seems to have gained a personality from the sum of all the men and women who have been closely associated with it.
Nowadays, under the stringencies imposed by insurance policies and security systems, the church is open only when there is someone present or something going on. If ever you see the door open (the Cameron Street one closest to George Street usually), feel free to pop in light a candle and have a look-see. The prime time however, to enjoy its full glory, is at the main Sunday morning service at 10:30 with choir, organ, lights, colour and action. You don't have to be an Anglican; indeed you really don't have to do anything but enjoy the pleasures of the building and its beautiful music.
The church still has a powerful significance and the parishioners consider themselves as guardians of a vision, not just curators of an ancient monument.
This lovely and lovable building is a living part of Launceston's continuing heritage as well as a living, vibrant, christian community. Your support in any way you see fit would be greatly appreciated - prayer, attendance, financial assistance, anything!
Postal Address: PO Box 671 Launceston, Tasmania 7250
Parish Office: 6331 4460
Where is Holy Trinity?
The Ven. Dane Courtney
Telephone: 0408 622182
The Rev. Ken Box
Home: 6326 4226
Mobile: 0408 023 578
St Matthias Audio Tour is an internet tour of 6 Pioneer gravesites and the Church. It is available here or from the Graveyard using your Iphone or android device.