Heritage church with ‘time capsule’ of relics listed for $1.2m

The beautiful church is a landmark in Hobart CBD. Picture: realcommercial.com.au/for-sale
The beautiful church is a landmark in Hobart CBD. Picture: realcommercial.com.au/for-sale

A heritage-listed church in the heart of Hobart is on the market for a little more than $1 million – but experts advise buyers to contemplate carefully before attempting to convert.

The Memorial Church at 73 Brisbane Street is an architectural gem in the Hobart CBD, currently used as the Korean Full Gospel Church, which would consider leasing back the property for three to four years.

The sandstone building is a heritage-listed paragon of Gothic Revival, built between 1870 and 1872, and designed by local architect Francis Butler – complete with a landmark 37-metre spire.

According to the National Trust in Tasmania, a ‘time capsule’ was laid beneath the foundation stone of the church, containing copies of newspapers including the Mercury and Tasmanian Times, and journals, coins, a speech and photographs of the building.

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The ‘time capsule’ buried beneath the church is believed to contain relics such as old newspaper articles and coins. Picture: realcommercial.com.au/for-sale

Listing agent Allen Ong of Brick and Castle – Hobart said the owner is expecting the property to sell for “around $1.2 million”, with potential for use beyond its church roots.

“It’s a very attractive building, right in the Hobart CBD – if it’s sold, people around will definitely want to know what its use will be,” Mr Ong said.

“It depends on the purchaser – there’s lots of potential. For example, it could be converted into accommodation, retail, a restaurant… One [prospective buyer] wanted to convert it into a library.

“But that is all subject to approval. It’s a heritage building, so they would have to work closely with the council and Heritage Tasmania.”

Cath Hall, director at 1+2 Architecture in Hobart, said church conversion projects could be complex, particularly when dealing with heritage buildings, so buyers needed to research and understand their obligations.

She said proposals for non-traditional use would also be likely to attract community input.

“Some members of the community would see a place of worship as sacrosanct. Potential buyers would need to be aware of sensitivities around this,” Ms Hall said.

“It’s an intact church of very high cultural and heritage value, so you’d need to talk through your intentions for the building and any modifications that might affect the heritage fabric – it’s not common to be able to change anything significantly.”

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Proposals for non-traditional use of the church will likely attract community input, according to experts. Picture: realcommercial.com.au/for-sale

She advised obtaining building assessments, potential costs associated with restoration works, and clarity around the certificate of title and zoning regulations.

“With buildings of this age, it’s also worth assessing potential restoration of the stonework and structural work and checking for rising damp. Old building standards mean it’s important to look at site, sewer and stormwater upgrades,” she said.

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The beautiful church is currently used as the Korean Full Gospel Church, which would consider leasing back the property. Picture: realcommercial.com.au/for-sale

The 838sqm site, on the corner of Brisbane and Elizabeth streets, is zoned P60.

The building has a floor area of 456sqm, plus a 65sqm mezzanine, and includes a grand hall, small childcare area, office, and performance stage with a pipe organ. There are also three car spaces.

The property is currently for sale through the agent.