The Anglican Church is facing pressure not to sell a historic church at Hadspen with links to Mary Reibey who is depicted on the $20 note.
Lyons Labor MHA Jen Butler said the Church of the Good Shepherd should not be sold because of its unique history.
Local parishioner Monica Murfet also wants to save the church.
Ms Butler said the church grounds contained the remains of descendants of Mary Reibey, a convict and later businesswoman whose contribution to Australia was considered so important she was depicted on the $20 note.
She said Mrs Reibey was a pioneering merchant ship owner and trader who, after being deported to Australia as a convict for stealing a horse in 1792, was now considered historically significant as a role model for women in business.
“It was Mary Reibey who purchased 2000 acres of land in Tasmania in 1811, later to become Entally Estate, and her grandson Thomas was the Premier – this is important history that needs protection,” Ms Butler said.
“It’s outrageous that the church is prepared to sell off history rather than protect it.
“The Hadspen community is rightly up in arms and does not want this church sold.”
Thomas Reibey, who was born in 1821 at Hadspen, is buried in the church grounds.
Mr Reibey was Tasmanian Premier from 1876 to 1877, Speaker of the House of Assembly and MP until 1903.
Ms Butler said the sale was not about the church’s redress scheme but rather a “money grab”.
Mrs Murfet, a parishioner for the past 20 years said she was saddened by the sale of the church and wanted its sale reconsidered.
She said she had written to the church on two occasions but had had no response.
“You really feel the spirit in the church,” Mrs Murfet said.
“When you walk into the church it feels like you are being wrapped around in it. It is so peaceful.”
Mrs Murfet said the church was built by the Reibey family and its loss was a blow to the local community.
“It is a landmark and it is very sad because it is a beautiful church,” she said.
“Members of the Reibey family are buried six or eight feet from the front door and I know of one lady who comes from Hobart to visit the graves of her parents and brother.
“What price can you put on this beautiful old bluestone church?”
Anglican Bishop of Tasmania, the Right Reverend Dr Richard Condie, said the Church of the Good Shepherd was not currently on the open market.
“We recognise that churches with cemeteries hold significant value within local communities,” Bishop Condie said.
“For church properties that are to be sold, we will prioritise solutions that enable these properties to be used by and for members of the local community into the future.
“Like many church buildings the Church of Good Shepherd has heritage value.
“We will work with the Tasmanian Heritage Council through the sale process of our heritage church properties.”
Bishop Condie said the sale of any church with a cemetery would occur in accordance with the requirements of the Burial and Cremation Act 2002.
(Sue Bailey - The Examiner JANUARY 23 2019)
The Examiner December 3 2018 Matt Dennien
As Reverend Josephine Pyecroft read the list of Quamby Parish properties saved from sale under plans to partially fund the Anglican Diocese of Tasmania’s obligations to the national redress scheme, her congregation held its breath.
St Andrew’s Church, Carrick; St Andrew’s Church, Westbury. Then: St Mary’s Church, Rectory and Cemetery, Hagley – the church in which they gathered. After months of anxious waiting and community action, parishioners who packed the building – the family histories of many deeply intertwined with its own rich history – breathed a collective sigh of relief. Then they wept.
“I couldn’t believe that we would get all three,” said John Temple, a Meander Valley councillor and one of the many thousands who told their stories to the royal commission which sparked the redress scheme. “I was in tears.” “But there will be dreadful news for others,” he added. “How can we help them now?”
Many lingered long after the service, including Mr Temple and his daughter Elizabeth – the fifth generation of the family to come through St Mary’s – and Lyons Labor MHA Jen Butler.
John Temple, Reverend Josephine Pyecroft and Lyons Labor MHA Jen Butler at St Mary's Church in Hagley after the service on Sunday. Picture: Matt Dennien
It had also been a long night for some. Reverend Pyecroft and her secretary waited up for news from the Diocese until after 11pm on Saturday. “I felt [St Mary’s] would be safe due to the cemeteries act, but I was terrified of having to tell them all out at Carrick and Westbury,” she said. After meeting on Saturday, a letter containing the Diocesan Council’s decision was sent to parishes that night, with instructions to share it in their Sunday service.
For Reverend Pyecroft the news was a “huge relief” for the Quamby Parish, but her heart went out to others whose churches and cemeteries have now been listed for closure and sale.
The final list now contains 51 churches – 22 with cemeteries. All up, 25 churches were spared. Both of Mr Temple’s parents are buried in the St Mary’s cemetery. “I was married here, it’s a very important place for me,” he said. “My daughter was christened here.” “I’m only a link in the chain.”
Rosemary Stobart, a member of the parish council, was one of the last to leave the building on Sunday. “I was married here, my children were baptised, they’ve been confirmed,” she said. “We moved to Westbury in 1950. My mother was on the parish council, my sister was on parish council, now I’ve gone onto parish council.”
“When the Bishop told me it was bricks and mortar, I said it’s a bit more than that.”
In a statement released on Sunday, Anglican Bishop of Tasmania, the Right Reverend Dr Richard Condie, said the church had “listened and responded to church and community feedback”. “We recognise that our church buildings are important places and hold significant value,” he said. “Retaining 30 per cent of the properties will have an impact on the funds we are able to raise. However, sacrificial giving from parishes has reduced this impact to the Redress Fund.” “Our compassion for survivors of child sexual abuse in our organisation is the driver for the costly path the Anglican Church has embarked upon,” he said.
Bishop Condie could not say how much money had been raised, or what impact even fewer property sales may have had on that figure.