Matthias GauntPrint Page Print this page

Photographs supplied by Arthur Garland

Brass plaque, erected by parishioners, commemorates Matthias Gaunt who built the church in 1842. Matthias was the first warden of the church. 

Matthias Gaunt was born in England in 1794. He was educated for the medical profession and practised in London. He spent a short time in South America and then returned to London and re-established his practice there.

By the end of the 1820s he had decided to emigrate to Van Diemen's Land. He brought with him his wife, Frances, and five sons. 

Frances Gaunt agreed to emigrate only on the condition that if there were no church near where they settled, then Matthias would see that one was built. He applied for and was granted land on the eastern side of the Tamar River, fifteen miles from Launceston. He called the land 'Windermere'. There he built a home for the family, a sawmill which he later converted to a steam driven flour mill, and established a vineyard.

To fulfil his promise to Frances, he built a small church close to the river bank. It was named 'St. Matthias' and was consecrated by the Right Reverend Francis Russell Nixon, first Anglican Bishop of Tasmania, on 18th April 1845. The building work took place in 1842-1843 and the first service was held in November 1843 by the Reverend Dr Browne of Launceston. Dr Gaunt was elected first churchwarden in 1846.

In the late 1860s Dr and Mrs Gaunt moved into Launceston to live. 'Windermere' was given to their children to manage. He continued his active interest in the flour and grain industry and built a mill in Launceston. For a number of years he was a director of the Commercial Bank of Tasmania, the Cornwall Fire & Marine Insurance Co., the Launceston Gas Co. and was a warden of the Marine Board. He was made a Justice of the Peace shortly after his arrival in the colony. He was also active in the fields of politics, education and literature.

He died at 9 a.m. on Sunday, 10th May 1874, at Launceston and was buried in the graveyard at St. Matthias'. 


Address:431 Windermere Road, St Matthias Church, Windermere, 7252
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -41.316287
Long: 147.004168
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:People
Approx. Event Start Date:1842
Approx. Event End Date:1843


Front Inscription


In thankful memory of Matthias Gaunt M.D. who died May 10th 1874

He built this church St. Matthias Windermere in 1842

Source: MA,JG
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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