Saturday, January 11, 2014

There's no place like home, writes Dorothy


THE history of Tasmania’s oldest church has been brought right up to date in a self-published book written by Dorothy Robinson. Titled A glimpse into the history of St Matthew’s Anglican Church, the book is only the second on the long history of the church which was built at New Norfolk in 1823. The first was a 24-page work by the late Joe Cowburn, published in 1950 to mark the 125th anniversary of the first regular services in the church. Mrs Robinson’s book is a comprehensive work of more than 80 pages.

Mrs Robinson, of New Norfolk, has been associated with the church for 84 years since her baptism at four months of age in 1929. The church has been a big part of her life and during a time of contemplation in 2006 she decided to set about recording some of the story of St Matthew’s. The original idea of a tri-fold brochure blossomed into an extensively-illustrated A4-sized book.

Launching the book just prior to Christmas, church leadership team member Celia Hooker said the work was a precious gift to the church. “I want to publicly congratulate her but also to thank her for her generosity and her love,” Mrs Hooker said. “Dorothy is such a modest lady and an inspiration to us here in the church, but I believe that over the years she has inspired those in the town who have had the pleasure of knowing her and the tireless work she has done for the church and the town,” she said.

A retired businesswoman and keen amateur historian, Mrs Robinson's record of community service includes being the first woman elected to the then New Norfolk Council, in office from 1956-62. Other speakers at the book launch included Mrs Robinson’s brother Ken O’Brien and church organist Layton Hodgetts. This was followed by a concert by the St Matthews’s Singers, an orchestra formed for the occasion and a baroque ensemble, culminating in a performance of items from Handel’s Messiah. A highlight was the versatile Susan Reppion-Brooke, who at times sang, played and conducted.

A glimpse into the history of St Matthew’s Anglican Church can be bought at the New Norfolk Newsagency for $35.

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