Tasmanian Times

Religion

Hall of memories

PERCY FROM THE PEWS

THE Anglican Church in Tasmania’s disposal (sell-off or sell-out?) of its historic buildings seems to be picking up pace, particularly so when it comes to those in what was its fine old Holy Trinity Parish in North Hobart.

Latest to be advertised to go on the ecclesiastical chopping block is what was the Holy Trinity Parish Hall at 3-5 Church Street, just down the road from Holy Trinity Church, which was handed over in January to the Greek Orthodox Church for a mere $50,000 (and since then there’s been the sale of parish residential property in between the church and hall).

What was once a proud parish is fast being consigned to history by the Anglican Church.

The advertisement for the hall describes it as having a “classic Victorian Rustic Gothic facade” and adds that the property of a large hall with meeting rooms, kitchen and self-contained flat possesses “fantastic development potential”.

But it passes over the church connection and also makes no mention of its historic provenance.

It is in this context that the place is significant, for it was there that the seeds sprouted for what was one of the most bitter divisions in Australian political history – the events that tore the Australian Labor Party asunder, with the creation of the Democratic Labor Party in the 1950s. The aftermath was such that the ALP was out of office for 17 years.

The hall was the venue for the ALP National Conference of March, 1955, when an expulsion of delegates led to the emergence of the DLP.

This cataclysmic political turmoil was previously well covered by Billy MacTold on this website back in late 2007 (Trinity: the Labor link). He recounted a fascinating story of a political tidal wave – but it appeared his words didn’t stir any response from today’s Labor pollies.

Still, one would like to think that when the hall’s future is decided after expressions of interest close on July 20 that the ALP will consider some appropriate form of recognition of those dramatic events of 1955 – perhaps a plaque for the hall wall.

But I’m not holding my breath.

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