University of Tasmania
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Church and community : the changing social role of Holy Trinity Church in Hobart, 1833-1945

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posted on 2023-05-27, 09:54 authored by Graham, PJ
This study examines the social role of the Church within the Hobart community with particular reference to Holy Trinity Church between 1833 and 1945. There were two Trinity Churches built in Hobart in the nineteenth century: the first, known as 'Old Trinity', was the chapel within the penitentiary precinct, built between 1831 and 1833 and the second known as 'Holy Trinity', was built nearby on the summit of Potter's Hill between 1841 and 1849. Holy Trinity adapted to the needs of the changing demography of Hobart, from penal colony to independent responsible Government, and therefore its social role covers an eclectic number of subject areas. Colonial and imperial records show that 'Old Trinity' was an integral part of penal reform being propagated in early nineteenth-century Britain where it was argued that the reformation and rehabilitation of the convict could be achieved through religious education delivered by the colonial chaplains. The hill-top site chosen for the new Holy Trinity Church ensured that the sight and sound of its bells would play a meaningful religious and civic role in Hobart's community. Trinity Parish was one of the largest and most densely-populated areas of Hobart. An analysis of the archives of the Church also indicates that it was also one of the poorest. This thesis, through the study of state records, institutional records, private papers, local and national newspapers, parish magazines, synod reports and diocesan newspapers, explores the extensive outreach of the Church to the growing number of destitute in Hobart. Their dire circumstances were compounded by the withdrawal of British Government services after the cessation of transportation and the reluctance of the newly-formed Tasmanian Government to take responsibility for the welfare of the poor and vulnerable in the community. The Church was instrumental in setting up welfare societies, schools for vagrant children, refuges for women and a home for female servants, thus situating this study within broader historical studies of convicts, welfare, women and immigration as well as religion in the nineteenth century. In the twentieth century, the patriotic role played by the Church in times of war, transcended the boundaries of the city of Hobart. During the Boer War, and the two World Wars, the Church readily defended the honour of Britain. Church leaders believed that the people were fighting 'a holy war', a twentieth-century crusade for the vindication of liberty, justice, humanity and righteousness against the aggressor nations. Holy Trinity clergy volunteered to be army padres, men and women enlisted, while those left behind were encouraged to maintain their morale and industry, adopt the principles of Moral Re-Armament, contribute to patriotic and comfort funds and support the recreational 'Hut' for troops set up in Hobart city.


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Copyright 2015 the Author

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