This excellent condition silver-plate presentation trowel with a spiral twist ivory handle, has this inscription:
Francis Margaret Parramore
ON THE OCCASION OF HER LAYING
THE NORTH MEMORIAL STONE
New Wesleyan Church
DECR 19TH 1882
The text is decorated with simple scrolls and the trowel is edged with a chased border of flowers. It is approximately 320mm long and 90mm at its widest point. There are several marks on the back of the trowel including the maker, K & Co; EP indicating electroplate and a symbol which appears to be a crossed key and anchor. The number 1023 is possibly a style number. Presented in a fitted box, approximately 350mm x 115mm x 40mm, and covered in brown leather or leatherette. The top of the box is decorated with a simple imprinted line border and a painted gold line border. Underside of the box is the remnant of a paper label on which is a partial number.
The Trowel was donated by the Ross Uniting Church. It appears that Mrs Parramore, or other members of her family, thought it more fitting that the trowel be retained by the Church. The presentation of the trowel to Mrs Parramore in 1882 is well documented. Contemporaneous newspaper reports refer to the ceremony and the laying of the stones by Mrs Horton of Somercotes and Mrs Parramore of Beaufront, stating that “all were please that these venerable and highly respected ladies had consented to be present and to acquiesce in the wish of the trustees”.
The ceremony continues with Mrs Parramore’s son Thomas reading a document which was placed in the cavity under the foundation stone. Mr W.W. Fox, headmaster of Horton College presented Mrs Horton with a mallet and silver trowel, and the President of Horton College, Rev. F. Neale, then presented another mallet and silver trowel to Mrs Parramore.
Both ladies with their silver trowel spread a little lime, helped to lift the stone to its place, applied the level, and then with three taps of the mallet declared “this stone well and truly laid in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost”.
The marble stones in the eastern wall of the Church also bear witness to the ceremony. The northern stone is carved and gilded with the inscription:
This MEMORIAL Stone
was laid by
Frances Margaret Parramore
Decr 13 1882
Francis Margaret Parramore was the wife of Thomas Parramore of Wetmore, Ross. They were an important family in the development of the wool industry in the Ross district and were deeply involved with the Wesleyan Church.
The trowel provides a link to the importance of Methodism in the Ross Community. The Parramore and Horton families in particular were strong in their support of the Methodist doctrine and instrumental in the building of the Ross Methodist Church (now Uniting Church) in the 1880s. Many of the farm workers, particularly on the Horton property, were also followers of the Methodist faith The eastern stained glass window of the Church is a memorial to Thomas and Frances Parramore. There is also a strong connection between the Ross Church and Horton College, with the students regularly walking from the College to attend Sunday Services at the Church. The ongoing relationship between the College and the Church is marked by the stained-glass window on the northern side of the Church, which was arranged by the Old Boys to commemorate their connection with the College.
The Ross Methodist Church was completed in 1885 and replaced an earlier Wesleyan Chapel (1837) on the corner of High and Bond Streets. The Methodist Church was designed by architect Percy Oakden who had been educated at Horton College. Described as a substantial structure of freestone, built in Gothic style of architecture, cruciform in shape, with gable spire …. It occupies a commanding site, and is an ornament to the neighbourhood.
Source: Tasmanian Wool Centre Significance Assessment 2013.