Celebrate 100 years of Wollongbar Hall

Inviting people to join them for the Wollongbar Halls centenary next Saturday is Wollongbar Hall Committee president Margaret Webb (front) with (l-r) supporter Graham Robinson, Marilyn and Ted Perkins and their grandchildren Sam and Harry Mulligan, Ballina councillor David Wright, and Neil and Yolanda Chesworth with their grandchildren Natalia and Dylan.

Neil Chesworth has great memories of the Wollongbar Hall, starting from his first year at primary school.

He said the local school overflowed in 1956, so he attended kindergarten in the hall next door. The Wollongbar Hall was also where Neil had his 21st birthday and where his sister celebrated her wedding reception.

Euchre and 500 card nights were common and it was where couples getting married would hold their kitchen teas. He said the whole community would come along and bring presents and people would get up and make speeches about the couple, the family and how everybody feels good about everyone.

The hall is now celebrating its 100th birthday and Neil is encouraging people to come along to an old time dance this Saturday, October 21, with live music, games and novelties.

He said it would be a community get-together just like in the days before television.

You worked hard on the farm and would regularly come together as a community to share fun, he said. Some people used to ride their horses to these things.

He said the night will even feature a spin-the-bottle competition where a quarter of the dance floor gets eliminated with each spin, until just one couple is left standing.

We had an old character called Ozzy Johnson, and if the winners were an unmarried couple he used to encourage them to kiss in front of everyone, he said. He did it to embarrass them. But once I kissed my partner so enthusiastically that Ozzy got embarrassed and he had to ask us to stop. The sad thing is I never saw the girl after that.

Neil said the hall was moved from its original site in Lindendale to its present location next to Hill Park Oval in 1985, which was when it was clad in brick.

If anything they destroyed what it used to be, he said. But it was done for maintenance. Its still got its original teak floor and the stage is original.

However, the spirit of the hall as a place for people to come together lives on, he said.

People are being asked to bring along any old photos or memorabilia to display on the night and there will be a traditional supper, with people asked to bring a plate if they can.

The cost is $6 and the fun starts at 7.30pm.

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