We left the Philosopher’s Hut and ambled along Smith St towards the church.
On the way we passed a graphic symbol representing the name of this town – the stunningly beautiful flowering plant, Waratah (Telopea truncata).
St James Church, a simple, timber construction was built in 1880. By 1889 this was the first church in Tasmania to be lit by electricity – a marker of how prosperous Waratah was, and perhaps how devout some citizens were. When the Mt Bischoff mine was being lit by electricity, the mine manager H.W.F. (Ferd) Kayser had the electric light connected to the church.
The church was deconsecrated in 2013. ABC News reported its new use. The Advocate newspaper includes a photo of the church interior with pews in place. The building is owned now by an out of town entrepreneur who displays arts and crafts throughout the interior with temporary wall boards dividing up the space. She is a vivacious, gregarious woman who is happy to talk at length about what she knows of the church and Waratah’s history.