Community & Business

17 February, 2024

Community hall to celebrate centenary

COMMUNITY halls in rural districts are often “the glue that holds a community together”, the social hubs of the district, and in the past, every community had its own hall.

By Brigitte Daley

Community hall to celebrate centenary - feature photo

The Butchers Creek Hall is one of the few halls to have survived when many others have closed their doors and ceased to exist and now, it is set to mark its 100th birthday.

Butchers Creek Hall committee member Petrina Callaghan said the hall was built by the community on land donated by a local farmer and opened with a 'Grand Ball' in February 1924. 

“Our committee is busy arranging a celebration event and a reunion of families to mark the 100th anniversary of the hall,” Petrina said.

“This will be a community event and is an open invitation to everyone. 

“We would love to see all past and present residents, along with anyone who has had a connection with the hall, to come along to celebrate this milestone.  

“For many of the families it will be like a reunion, where they can reconnect with old friends who they may not have seen for a long time.”

When local residents formed the Butchers Creek Progress Association, their first goal was to build a community hall. 

Land for the hall was donated by James Lynch from his farm and all the timber required was donated by local residents. 

The logs were sawn for free at Shepperson's Sawmill on Fisk Road.

The crowfoot timber floor was cut from two logs that were cut and hauled from Gadaloff Road, by a bullock team. 

The sawn timber was then carted with bullock teams back to where the hall was being built under the supervision of bush carpenter Jim Dick who was a farmer at Butchers Creek.

Most of the building materials were donated and local residents volunteered their labour.

The Butchers Creek Hall was constructed and completed in early 1924.

A “Grand Opening Ball” was held in February 1924 with a theme of “Plain and Fancy Dress”.

Dances were then held to pay back some of the costs, mainly the cost of the roofing iron. 

The hall was extended with community donations in 1933 when an enclosed verandah was built on one side to create additional space.

By the 1980s repairs were needed and the new school principal encouraged many of the parents from the school to become involved. 

Many working bees followed and improvements were made with a small bank balance, a lot of donated materials and all time volunteered.

New toilets and a tennis court were built and the hall was used for various sports.

It was especially popular for playing indoor cricket.

Netting was put up and teams travelled from Atherton and surrounding areas.

The hall committee was a very active one and Melbourne Cup nights with a Calcutta drew big crowds.

It was around the 1980s and 1990s that the hall became popular for “Full Moon” dances.

In 2010, the committee arranged a social night where local residents were invited to burn their cattle brands onto a maple timber board that was later completed, polished and then unveiled.

This was seen to be a very fitting way of recording the farming history of the area.

The oldest brand on the board was first registered by early land selector George Davidson who was one of the trustees of the hall.

The old brand still hangs in the shed of the original property, which is now owned by Geoff and Leanne Haines, with the brand registered in their sons’ name.

A second brand board was completed in 2016 and also hangs in the bar corner. 

Fundraising by the committee, along with the availability of grants, has assisted the committee to achieve many of the improvements seen at the hall today.

“In the last 20 years a total of over $135,000 has been spent on upgrades to the hall,” Petrina said.

“Much of this work has been done by the members in their own time.  

“The internal structure of the hall is in its original condition.”

The Butchers Creek CWA branch used the hall for their meetings and social activities for a number of years.  

Over the past 100 years countless dances, meetings, parties, engagements, weddings, family events, community social nights and school activities have taken place in the Butchers Creek Hall.

A valuable asset to the area, the hall is still used for these purposes today.

“A special feature will be registering your family name so that those attending this 100-year event will be recorded on a special Centenary Reunion sign board that will be displayed permanently in the hall,” Petrina said.   

“Anthony Ball will be the master of ceremonies for the event and between him and our organizing committee we can assure a great time for everyone.”

A full program is planned from 3pm on Saturday 17 February 2024 which will include afternoon tea, historical displays, Jack and Jill crosscut sawing reminiscent of the fun people had back in the early days, entertainment items performed by Butchers Creek School students, music items, the cutting of the Centenary Cake, lucky door etc.

A hot roast meal will be available, spin the bottle, followed by raffles/auction and more music items and entertainment from the school children into the night. A bar will be operating. 

For further information, Butchers Creek Hall Facebook page, message for more information or phone 40 968 001 or 0428 547 777. 


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