Anglican Diocese of Tasmania

For the Catholic church in Tasmania, see Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hobart.
Diocese of Tasmania
Ecclesiastical province Extra-Provincial
Parishes 51
Churches 156
Members 4,800 [1]
Rite Anglican
Cathedral St David's Cathedral (Hobart)
Current leadership
Bishop Richard Condie

The Anglican Diocese of Tasmania includes the entire Tasmanian archipelago and is an extraprovincial diocese of the Anglican Church of Australia.[2] The cathedral church of the diocese is St David's Cathedral in Hobart. The twelfth Bishop of Tasmania, ordained as bishop and installed on 19 March 2016, is Richard Condie. There are three schools associated with the diocese: Hutchins School, Launceston Church Grammar School and St Michael's Collegiate School and various organisations such as the welfare provider Anglicare and the Mission to Seafarers.[3]


Robert Knopwood, a member of the original settlement in 1803, was responsible for the initial establishment of Anglicanism in the colony.[4] Also important for the development of Anglicanism in the colony was the arrival of the Bible Society in 1819.[5] Although most of the mainline denominations were well represented in Tasmania, Anglicanism was well established by the 1830s.[6]

Church control of the educational system was a contested issue of the 1840s, with a division between Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics.[7] On 21 August 1842, Tasmania became the first independent Anglican diocese in Australia by Letters Patent under the Great Seal of Queen Victoria and Francis Nixon was appointed first Bishop of Tasmania.[8][9] Nixon initiated the creation of a synodical structure in 1858, combining clergy and laity governance of the diocese, mirroring similar measures in the dioceses of Adelaide and Melbourne.[10]


In contrast to the Diocese of Sydney's long heritage of evangelicalism or Brisbane or Ballarat's unwavering Anglo-Catholicism, the Diocese of Tasmania's churchmanship has varied over time. It has been, by turns, predominantly Evangelical, Anglo-Catholic and Charismatic throughout its history.[11]

In its earliest days, the diocese had a decidedly low church outlook, with priests such as Richard Deodatus Poulett Harris condemning "popery".[12]

During the 1940s, high churchmen had the "experience of being a ‘Lone Scout type Catholic’ in conservative Tasmania. One of those who attended the occasional meetings of the Tasmanian state branch of the Australian Church Union in the 1940s recalled the conspiratorial atmosphere: 'they were quite delicious really, because everyone was called Father, and we could say the Hail Mary without anyone getting into trouble’".[13]

Although General Synod passed legislation to authorise the ordination of women to the priesthood in 1992, Tasmania had already given a deaconess, Marie Kingston, individual responsibility for the parish of King Island during the 1960s.[14] In 1977, the diocese held a youth synod "to encourage informed discussion on religious and social issues", which eventually became the National Anglican Youth Gathering.[15]


From 1997 to 1998, a public inquiry was held which unearthed a number of cases of clerical child abuse, involving nine priests, which had occurred from 25 to 30 years previously.[16] As a result of these finding, the church provided compensation. More recently the diocese has focused on providing safe ministry with the bishop, John Harrower, saying during his episcopate that "the church is committed to stamping out child sexual abuse within its ranks."[17] He also lobbied the federal government about this issue.[18]


A report from the General Synod, using National Church Life Survey and Australian Bureau of Statistics data, found that average weekly attendance across the state in 2001 was 4,800.[19] This is from the high-water mark in 1961, when 45.42% of the population declared themselves affiliated with the Anglican Church in Tasmania, the highest percentage of all the Australian states.[20] In the diocese there are 107 active clergy and 51 parishes.[21] The Diocese was called before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in November 2014[22] and January 2016.[23]

Assistant bishops

The current assistant bishops (initially styled "missioner bishops"[24]) in the diocese are:[25]

Bishops of Tasmania

See also


  1. Wayne Brighton,Attendance Statistics For the Anglican Church of Australia(NCLS:2004): 18.
  2. Angela Grutzner, The Australian Anglican Directory (Melbourne: Publishing Solutions, 2009): 7.
  3. 'Anglican Organisations and Societies' Diocesan Directory 2008-2009 (Hobart: Anglican Church of Tasmania, 2008): 5-6.
  4. Lloyd Robson, A History of Tasmania: Van Diemen's Land from the Earliest Times to 1855 (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1983)
  5. Bruce Kaye, Anglicanism in Australia (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2002): 13
  6. Ian Breward, A History of the Australian Churches (St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 1993): 223
  7. Breward, A History of the Australian Churches., 40.
  8. "History of St David's Cathedral". Retrieved 2012-12-24.
  9. Frame, Anglicans in Australia (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2007): 58.
  10. Frame, Anglicans in Australia, 74.
  11. Frame, Anglicans in Australia, 132.
  12. Poulett Harris, Sermon for the Royal Engagement, 3.
  13. The Anglo-Catholic Tradition in Australian Anglicanism
  14. Kaye, Anglicanism in Australia, 133-135.
  15. Kaye, Anglicanism in Australia, 131.
  16. Stateline transcript
  17. "Church welcomes sexual abuse report", ABC News (18 June 2009), , Retrieved 27 June 2009.
  18. Wayne Brighton, Attendance Statistics for the Anglican Church of Australia (NCLS:2004): 18.
  19. Frame, Anglicans in Australia, 127.
  20. Grutzner, The Australian Anglican Directory, 15 & 109-111.
  21. "Special notice from the Headmaster regarding the Royal Commission hearing | Latest news | The Hutchins School, Hobart Tasmania". Retrieved 2016-09-27.
  22. "Sexual abuse inquiry to focus on Hobart's Church of England Boys' Society". 2016-01-26. Retrieved 2016-09-27.
  23. cavdom (2007-12-19), Missioner Bishops for Diocese of Tasmania, retrieved 2016-09-27
  24. Anglican Church in Tasmania – People directory
  25. "People directory | Anglican Church in Tasmania". Retrieved 2016-09-27.
  26. "People directory | Anglican Church in Tasmania". Retrieved 2016-09-27.

External links

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