Rural halls were once the epicentre of district communities, and some still are. Sadly, others have fallen on hard times. Some have been repurposed, others have disappeared altogether.
Local folk have already compiled splendid histories on the community halls in Kilkivan, Imbil, Kandanga, Theebine, Pie Creek and Widgee. The Wolvi and Veteran Hall communities are currently working on compiling their own history while some halls such as at Curra and Rainbow Beach Hall are just starting on their history journey.
Many of our halls at, for example, Cedar Pocket, Goomboorian, Goomeri, Chatsworth, Kybong, Langshaw, Lower Wonga, Long Flat, Tansey and Booubyjan are still being used and will keep adding to their story.
Volunteers at Gympie Regional Libraries have amassed a collection of newspaper reports and advertisements about every rural hall in Gympie Regional Council area. Based on these resources, volunteers located or wrote a history of each hall. This compiled information is ready for you to access via Gympie Regional Libraries.
The following notes are meant to capture the range of events that have affected our halls and their communities rather than be a definitive history. Please refer to the hall research files at Gympie Library for the most accurate and thorough info.
- Over history, some halls have a huge presence in the The Gympie Times newspaper. Amamoor and Kandanga had regular advertisements and stories; Cedar Pocket, Goomboorian, Goomeri, Glastonbury, Chatsworth, Kybong – all have pages and pages of scrapbook entries. Someone was a regular correspondent in those areas.
- Some halls were tied to proactive local people who saw to it that a hall was built for the community. (Mr Boyling built in Kandanga. Tin Can Bay folk once partied in Mr Mason’s Hall. Gunalda’s events were held in the hall built by the Order of the Oddfellows until a new hall was built in 1926. John Doyle built a hall at Kandanga Creek.)
- Traveston’s Hall was once Gympie’s powder magazine, at one time manned by James Nash. It was moved from Gympie in 1898 due to safety concerns.
- Sexton Hall was abandoned after the railway line was redirected, and its timbers reused, piece by piece, in the Tin Can Bay RSL building in 1951. Salvageable sections of Canina’s hall were reused at Kia Ora Hall.
- Mooloo’s hall is now a private residence, its Honour Board relocated to Pie Creek Hall. Sandy Creek’s Hall, once called Downsfield, was listed as residential in 2018. Cinnabar’s hall was sold for removal.
- Woolooga’s hotel and original hall were built and owned by the same person; Glastonbury’s Hall was also part of a hotel in the early days.
- Manumbar was once two settlements, based around the Mill and the Settlement. The hall was known as Mill Hall.
Some halls are now just a whisper – there are newspaper traces of Tamaree Hall (or reading room) but no photographs have found their way to the Library. The fate of Anderleigh’s hall is unclear. Halls at Bunya Creek, Bollier and Brooloo were demolished. Deep Creek’s Hall might have burned down.
The need to memorialise World War One resulted in many communities building memorial halls. Mothar Mountain community welcomed its soldiers back at the school in 1944. Their community hall was built much later in 1957.
Halls were used for many things: libraries and reading rooms, cards, euchre tournaments, balls, dances, farewells, socials, parties after sports days, meetings, craft groups, dancing lessons, school plays, school breakups, private parties, mothers’ groups, kindergartens, even roller skating. Hall committees raised funds for pianos, extensions, supper rooms, lighting and repairs. Some declared their purpose through their name – School of Arts, Memorial Hall, Soldier’s Memorial or simply Hall.
In recent years, the Gympie Regional Council has accepted responsibility for some rural halls. A list (including contacts) of Gympie region community halls and venues can be found here
Article written by Robyn B
(Many thanks goes to the hardworking volunteers Anne and Robyn on the halls project. Anne worked tirelessly for many years compiling a good bulk of the region’s halls history before passing the baton on to Robyn to finish.)