Condemned Lismore buildings conceal mysterious heritage

LISMORE City Council is appealing for historical material or information shedding light on the use of two old buildings that have been condemned and may be demolished.

The old dance hall in Magellan St, behind the Scout and Girl Guides hall, known as Pavilion Two, has been assessed as structurally unstable, while the cycle shed at Oakes Oval has been damaged by white ants.

Council's assets manager Scott Turner said there was a plaque on the side of the dance hall indicating it was opened in 1941 as a hostel for returned servicemen.

However, there were no records at the RSL sub branch of this and the building's history remained "a little bit of a mystery".

"It first started, as we understand it, as a hostel for servicemen returning from World War Two and there's a plaque to that effect on the side of the building," he said.

"However the RSL don't seem to have any records of that.

"At some point in time, we don't know exactly when, the use of that building changed from the hostel to a bit of a dance hall and the Lismore City Band were using it for a period of time."

CAN YOU HELP? Lismore City Council’s Steve Dillon is looking for information about the old dance hall in Magellan St and cycle shed at Oakes Oval.
CAN YOU HELP? Lismore City Council’s Steve Dillon is looking for information about the old dance hall in Magellan St and cycle shed at Oakes Oval. Marc Stapelberg

Mr Turner said the building, which hasn't been used for years, was assessed by a structural engineer who condemned it for being structurally unstable.

He said as a hostel, it likely had a lot more walls which were removed when it was made into a dance hall, resulting in the loss of a lot of the building's structural support.

To restore or preserve the building, Mr Turner said it would cost the council a lot of money.

He said there was also a rumour that the timber cycle shed at Oakes Oval was used as a place of enlistment during the First World War, but little evidence so far to support it.

Mr Turner asked anyone with information, including old photos or newspaper clippings, on the use of either building - particularly in relation to wartime - to contact Steve Dillon on 1300 878 387.


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