Holy Trinity is a wonderful repository of stories - about the church itself through the decades, and of the people who have been worshippers, plus countless others who either had family christenings, marriages or funeral services there.
When the Holy Trinity Support Group was out on the streets with its petition seeking the retention and repair of the church, a major response among the thousands who signed was of great grandparents, grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, cousins, and friends, who were married there. It was indeed a particularly popular setting for weddings, and that's not in the least surprising considering the beautiful setting.
Here are stories about people's links with the church. If you would like to share your memories about this holy place, please Contact Us.
My Father, Oscar Biggs
My father, Oscar Biggs, was organist and choirmaster at Holy Trinity Church from 1935 to 1942, under Archdeacon Blackwood and briefly Canon McCabe. Unfortunately, he was forced to resign because of a debilitating and painful attack of the shingles. While Oscar was organist, we family attended Matins or Holy Communion every Sunday morning and occasionally Evensong as well. Oscar returned as organist in the nineteen fifties on condition that Vic Fitze took on the job as choirmaster. At that time, I was singing a wobbly tenor in St. David’s Cathedral choir, but when I had a falling-out with the prescriptive Dean Fewtrell, I joined the Trinity choir until Oscar again had to retire because of heart and other problems.
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The choir at this latter time was but a shadow of what it had been in the 1930s, with around 60 members, roughly 20 each of men, women and boys. It was correspondingly ambitious, judging by the musical scores that remained on our bookshelves, including The St Matthew Passion, several Bach cantatas, The Messiah, The Creation, Samson, Jeptha, Elijah, Hymn of Praise and others. I was far too young of course to judge how good these performances actually were, but the fact that a suburban parish choir could supply the resources for such mighty works is telling enough. It is difficult to imagine a Tasmanian parish choir even attempting such a range of complex works today. Oscar was himself a musician of some standing so I don’t imagine he would have associated himself with performances that weren’t at the very least competent. As for the soloists, the names of Jim Handley, Ted LeRossignol, Stan Morant and later Vic Fitze come to mind. All were members of the choir and in their time were soloists on the Hobart musical scene generally.
After each service, Oscar used to play the outgoing voluntary, usually Bach, with many of the congregation staying behind to listen. When I was older, I would sometimes sit at the organ bench with him and turn the pages for him. He had the Complete Organ Works of J. S. Bach to choose from. His rendition of Fugue alla Gigue was exquisite, tantalising, but the rolling waves of triumph echoing and re-echoing around the beautifully atmospheric church as he played Herr Christ der ein’ge Gottes-Sohn full blast were visceral, heart-pounding: it you made feel as if you had just run 100 yards flat out. He gave regular Sunday afternoon recitals, which frequently packed the historic building – these were occasions that the musically minded carefully noted in their diaries.
In the fifties, I was a member of the St David’s Bellringers, a skill we learned under the tutelage of Sid Smith of Trinity, whose son John was then and still is a ringer at Trinity. We used to visit each others’ towers; and I have to say that the Trinity ringers were much more accomplished campanologists, with a wider range of methods of change-ringing, than we at St. David’s.
In a word, Trinity Church was not only a Hobart landmark for one and a half centuries, but a complex for worship of all kinds, music, architecture, art and nostalgia adding to the spiritual mix. Yes, nostalgia for what has been spiritually enriching – that is a form of worship too.
Oscar would have felt devastated, outraged and betrayed – above all betrayed – if he had lived to discover that Holy Trinity Church was deconsecrated in October, 2007.