The old hall stands in the centre of the town. Over the years the floor has been swept by debutantes, the dust stirred by the beat of music and washed with copious amounts of alcohol and drinks. Old timers reminisce about the regular dances across the district mid-last century – from Curlewis to Nea, Breeza to Spring Ridge and many other halls in between. The floor is perfect for a bush dance, with many a heel and toe having been stepped out across its boards.
In recent years it has been the function centre for local school presentations, town meetings, an outpost of the shire library, regular boot scooters and fundraisers such as trivia nights in the dead of winter that then took days to warm the bones to some semblance of comfort.
But the laughter, friendships and memories will warm you for a life time.
This hall, costing 5000 pounds to build was opened on March 21 1958 with a Grand Opening Ball. History tells us it’s steel framed with a brick frontage. It has a 72 by 42-foot dance floor and 34 by 12-foot stage. The project to build it was one of the biggest public ventures taken on by a district centre – taking two years of community effort, fund raising and voluntary work.
It truly is a community resource built and cherished by the village.
On Sunday I enjoyed the company of friends at this treasured centrepiece of our town. The Gunnedah Red Cross held its major fundraiser, a gala day complete with a fashion parade in our hall. What a glorious way to spend a Sunday.
The old hall stood tall as it was once more filled with chatter and camaraderie. The kitchen clattered with food preparations, the yard shone with prized vintage cars, the edges packed with small markets showcasing their wares. And then as a finale to a delicious meal we enjoyed a parade as the latest fashions promenaded across the stage, inspiring all to update or add to their winter wardrobe.
It was rewarding to contribute to the fund-raising efforts of The Australian Red Cross who provide a range of services and programmes including international aid and humanitarian law advocacy, migration support, emergency management, blood donation via the Australian Red Cross Blood Service, and community services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, youth, families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities.
As a local it was warming to watch our hall being used and enjoyed by both villagers and visitors. I’m sure it too enjoyed the chats, laughter and smiles as much as we did.
Want to know more?
Australian Red Cross – www.redcross.org.au.
Fashion Parade by Enchanted Emporium and Riley’s Furniture and Carpets – See the lovely clothing that showcased on their facebook page – www.facebook.com/flowersballoonsgunnedah.