Hall to celebrate its century

TINONEE’S Memorial School of Arts will be celebrating its 100th birthday in October and the hall committee are busy with their preparations for the grand event.

President Ray Flippence and his small band of workers are currently preparing for a major milestone in the life of the hall. The day of celebration has been set down for Saturday October 20 beginning at 11am, with all interested persons and anyone with a connection to the hall, invited to come along.

A large display of photographs and memorabilia, depicting the hall over this long time of service to the community, will be on display for all to enjoy.

The day will culminate in a special unveiling of a plaque at approximately 3pm by Mr Flippence and current hall patron James Gollan, descendant of the builder of the hall, Captain Hector Gollan.

The unveiling will be followed by afternoon tea and a chance for all to reminisce over the many memories of good times held at the hall.

The hall committee is currently sending out invitations to those folk who have affiliation with the hall, but all residents of our great township are welcome to be part of the celebrations also.

Morning and afternoon tea will be available for a gold coin donation. All funds raised will go to the continued maintenance and upkeep of this important Tinonee facility.

On the site, the first building to be established was the Windsor Castle Hotel which was replaced with the first hall, at what is now known as 11 Manchester Street, Tinonee. It had a colourful history in so much as it was originally known as the Temperance Hall when it was built in 1880. The hall served the community until interest waned and the group went into liquidation.

This hall was purchased by Captain Gollan in 1911 and he obviously decided the building was not large enough, so decided to build a bigger one, which became known as The Federal Hall.

When the second hall on the site was built, it is said that the original structure was used as scaffolding, before it was then demolished after the partial construction of the new hall.

Not only did Captain Gollan build the hall, but he had tables and stools built from pit sawn timers of trees he had felled 44-45 years previously.

One of these large tables is still used to this day in the hall, as are several of the wooden stools.

The Memorial School of Arts Hall was completed in 1912, but wasn’t officially opened until Tuesday, February 25, 1913 by the politicians of the day: John Thomson MHR and R A Price MLA.

Also in attendance were Ald L O Martin, mayor of Taree and Mr C Boyce together with a very large group of local residents, including Captain Gollan and his wife. From newspaper records and family stories it is said that the afternoon continued with a banquet for some 80 persons in the large dining room beneath the hall with many speeches and well wishes before the formalities concluded.

Later in the evening a dance was held, going well into the evening “when the young folk spent a right merry time”.

The hall remained in the ownership of the Gollan family even after the death of Captain Gollan’s wife Margaret when it was passed to their son George and following his untimely death, to his wife Artie.

When maintenance of the building became a problem, Ernie Sawyer, the president of the local Progress Association, called a public meeting on October 16, 1943 where it was agreed the land and building would be purchased for three hundred pounds.

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