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.
Recollections of a choirboy
The Bashfield name has been linked with Holy Trinity through the years of peace and war. Bashfields served with honour in both World Wars.
Jim Bashfield, of Kingston, was in the Royal Australian Navy in World War Two, but in this article he remembers his peacetime days at Holy Trinity:
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Although to be a member of a church choir does not seem to be regarded as a manly pursuit by the youngsters of today, this was not always the case. I have pleasant memories of my time as a boy-treble in the choir of Holy Trinity in the mid-1930s and have no doubt my appreciation of church music is a legacy of that period.
The success of choirs depends a great deal on the leadership of the choirmaster. At Trinity, weekly practice was held in the late afternoon or early evening and for the 10 or so boys who occupied the first row of the choir-stalls, this was usually preceded by the rough and tumble of a serious game of "Cowboys and Indians" in the church grounds.
There was one twerp of a lad who, although assuming the innocent look of an angel when wearing his surplice and cassock, had the nasty habit of greeting his fellows with a sharp right hook to the left shoulder, always in the same spot. Kind and not so kind protests seemed a waste of words until this weekly bruising eventually brought a response from one of the lads that was neither tender nor totally brutal but effectively brought this form of greeting to a halt. It was a matter of doing unto him before he did unto us!
The problem of keeping quiet during long sermons was met by taking comics into the church under our cassocks, making sure they did not fall to the floor during the procession. Our masters apparently looked with an understanding eye on this caper for, in this regard at least, we were never rebuked for behaviour unbecoming.
The annual Harvest Festival always attracted a good attendance by the choirboys because any fruit donated for the displays was usually distributed among them after the last service. Weddings involving the choir raised an expectation of reward, usually two shillings! And an occasional invitation to visit the bell-tower was looked forward to with great anticipation, for the boys were usually given the chance to try their hand at ringing the big bells. I well remember on the first such occasion forgetting to let go the rope and being lifted off my feet on my way towards the ceiling.
These were the days when many churches had good choirs and my impression was that Holy Trinity had one of the best. We attended St David's to join with the Cathedral's choir to celebrate special occasions on the religious calendar and made annual visits to the gaol and to Bushy Park for the festival marking the end of hop harvest.
The visits to the old gaol in Campbell Street to sing Christmas carols were quite an experience. After being let in through the big iron doors we were much impressed to see the prisoners in their open cells. Most looked surprisingly normal and very fit. The service took place in the chapel. As I recall, the prisoners were marshalled into individual cubicles that restricted their view left or right, like blinkers on a horse. The choir was set up on one side at the front and we did our best to entertain the congregation whether they liked it or not. They were truly a captive audience!
The Hop Festival was another highlight. The choir was taken by bus to Bushy Park in the Derwent Valley in the late afternoon and a special service held in the hopfields by the light of lanterns and small fires. My impression was that most of the families who came to the field to make some extra money during the hop-picking season, attended these services. This was during the time of the Great Depression and the festival service had an atmosphere of goodwill and satisfaction for a job well done.
Singing parts of the Messiah needed much practice each year and left a lasting impression. As a result, 70 years later my spirit still rejoices to the Hallelujah Chorus and I believe I was indeed fortunate as a youngster to have been a member of the choir.
My family has a strong connection with Holy Trinity Church and, in their turn, both my younger sister Joan (Elliston) and my brother Bill were also members of the choir.
Footnote: Jim Bashfield enlisted in the Navy in June, 1942, serving as a telegraphist. His Uncle Harry - Trooper Henry Dundas Bashfield - was one of the 101 Holy Trinity parishioners who died in World War One and are commemorated by the church's War Memorial Window and on its Honour Board. A Tasmanian "West Coaster", he was born at Dundas - hence this appearing as part of of his name - and served with the 3rd Australian Light Horse. He died of wounds at Gaza, Palestine, on April 24, 1917, and was buried in Egypt. He was aged 25. Notes from his regiment said he had served with "great credit as a machine-gunner and was thought highly of by his officers and comrades".