The Anglican Diocese of Tasmania includes the entire Tasmanian archipelago and is an extraprovincial diocese of the Anglican Church of Australia. The cathedral church of the diocese is St David's Cathedral in Hobart. The twelfth Bishop of Tasmania, ordained as bishop and installed on 19 March 2016, is Richard Condie. There are three schools associated with the diocese: Hutchins School, Launceston Church Grammar School and St Michael's Collegiate School and various organisations such as the welfare provider Anglicare and the Mission to Seafarers.
Robert Knopwood, a member of the original settlement in 1803, was responsible for the initial establishment of Anglicanism in the colony. Also important for the development of Anglicanism in the colony was the arrival of the Bible Society in 1819. Although most of the mainline denominations were well represented in Tasmania, Anglicanism was well established by the 1830s.
Church control of the educational system was a contested issue of the 1840s, with a division between Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics. On 21 August 1842, Tasmania became the first independent Anglican diocese in Australia by Letters Patent under the Great Seal of Queen Victoria and Francis Nixon was appointed first Bishop of Tasmania. Nixon initiated the creation of a synodical structure in 1858, combining clergy and laity governance of the diocese, mirroring similar measures in the dioceses of Adelaide and Melbourne.
In contrast to the Diocese of Sydney's long heritage of evangelicalism or Brisbane or Ballarat's unwavering Anglo-Catholicism, the Diocese of Tasmania's churchmanship has varied over time. It has been, by turns, predominantly Evangelical, Anglo-Catholic and Charismatic throughout its history.
In its earliest days, the diocese had a decidedly low church outlook, with priests such as Richard Deodatus Poulett Harris condemning "popery".
During the 1940s, high churchmen had the "experience of being a ‘Lone Scout type Catholic’ in conservative Tasmania. One of those who attended the occasional meetings of the Tasmanian state branch of the Australian Church Union in the 1940s recalled the conspiratorial atmosphere: 'they were quite delicious really, because everyone was called Father, and we could say the Hail Mary without anyone getting into trouble’".
Although General Synod passed legislation to authorise the ordination of women to the priesthood in 1992, Tasmania had already given a deaconess, Marie Kingston, individual responsibility for the parish of King Island during the 1960s. In 1977, the diocese held a youth synod "to encourage informed discussion on religious and social issues", which eventually became the National Anglican Youth Gathering.
From 1997 to 1998, a public inquiry was held which unearthed a number of cases of clerical child abuse, involving nine priests, which had occurred from 25 to 30 years previously. As a result of these finding, the church provided compensation. More recently the diocese has focused on providing safe ministry with the bishop, John Harrower, saying during his episcopate that "the church is committed to stamping out child sexual abuse within its ranks." He also lobbied the federal government about this issue.
A report from the General Synod, using National Church Life Survey and Australian Bureau of Statistics data, found that average weekly attendance across the state in 2001 was 4,800. This is from the high-water mark in 1961, when 45.42% of the population declared themselves affiliated with the Anglican Church in Tasmania, the highest percentage of all the Australian states. In the diocese there are 107 active clergy and 51 parishes. The Diocese was called before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in November 2014 and January 2016.
The current assistant bishops (initially styled "missioner bishops") in the diocese are:Chris Jones, Assistant Bishop (Vicar-General) (2008–present)
Ross Nicholson, Assistant Bishop (Mission) (2008–present)