All Saints Anglican Network encompasses several centres which have in recent decades been separate parishes of the Anglican Diocese of Tasmania. Their history is intertwined with that of St. John’s Church, Launceston, and historically, all were ministered to for parts of their history by the clergy of St. John’s Church. It could be argued, however, that the history of the parish really begins at George Town, site of the first Divine Service in northern Van Diemen’s Land on Sunday 25th November 1804. Indeed, Governor Macquarie’s insistence that George Town be the administrative capital of the northern settlement led to Revd. John Youl being forced to live at George Town from 1821 to 1825, after living in Launceston from 1819 to 1821, during which time plans were set afoot for the building of St. John’s Church. In that early period, there was a combined chapel and school house on the corner of Elizabeth and Cimitiere Streets at George Town.
History of St. John’s Church, Launceston
The history of St. John’s Church goes right back to the beginnings of European settlement of northern Tasmania in 1804, but is more properly dated from the appointment of Revd. John Youl as chaplain to Port Dalrymple in 1815. With the building itself commenced in 1824, this represents a very long period of accumulated documents, pictures and other artefacts. The building itself is the largest of those artefacts, and includes a small museum area with items and pictures of past times.
The people, of course, are the church, and many Australians, and occasionally people in other countries, have wanted to access records of those people – baptisms, confirmations, weddings, funerals and burials, to further understand their own family history. To preserve those precious records, a large collection of documents relating to the early history of St. John’s Church has been digitised by the Tasmanian Government’s library and archive service, Libraries Tasmania, and can be searched online. Follow: Libraries Tasmania Name Index Search
Our Heritage and History Team is working hard to catalogue and conserve the artefacts and documents held by the church. The linked articles below, along with our website photo galleries, will give some idea of the past, distant and more recent, of St. John’s Church.
A booklet covering the history of St. John’s is available from the church. The following pages also outline our history.
This very comprehensive collection of Memorials and Biographies (which may take a little longer to load to your browser), outlining memorials in St. John’s Church in the form of plaques, windows, furniture and other items, was compiled by well-known Launceston historian, Jenny Gill.
[Click] Interactive church map
for a self-guided tour of St. John’s Church
“Hidden Places” Video Tour
The magnificent and historical church building is usually open to the public on weekdays, but there are areas that not even our own congregation can visit, mainly for safety reasons. Now, you can virtually tour these “hidden places”.
Historical Image Galleries
Many of the images in the photo galleries also have interesting historical information in their captions.
Click on the first photo in the gallery to bring it up to viewing size.
Captions will appear below the photo. Use your arrow keys to go to the next image.
We are always happy to receive further images relating to the history of St. John’s and other All Saints churches, and will publish them as soon as possible, with acknowledgement of source if desired.
Audio and Video Collection
It is not known whether there are any audio recordings made at St. John’s from the “pre-electrical” era – 1880s to 1950s. We would be delighted to be given access to any such recordings, and would digitise them as soon as possible, to link to this website. “Reel to reel” recordings were made of a few services and concerts from the early 1960s onwards, although the technology in use appears to have been very limited. From the early 1980s, sermons were recorded to cassette and duplicated as a ministry to those who could no longer attend services through age or infirmity. Only a limited number of those earlier recordings have survived, as the master tapes were wiped for further use, but our collection is reasonably good from the mid 1990s, and from the early 2000s, we have an almost complete record of Sunday sermons through to the present day. From 2014, we have also made video recordings of Sunday sermons.
[Click] Sermons to find our collection of recorded sermons.
Use the search options at the top of the page:
eg Start Date 1980, End Date 1990 (and click on the Filter>> button to apply your search).
Our earliest extant audio recordings:
During 2017, two sermon series preached by Revd. Ernest Horth in 1984
were also acquired and added to the collection. Use the search function mentioned above.
Ferguson and Urie – Colonial Victoria’s Historic Stained Glass Craftsmen 1853-1899
(and our particular Ferguson and Urie window) – St John’s Anglican Church, Launceston