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End is nigh for Undera Memorial Hall

The historic Undera Memorial Hall's days are numbered, as it is set to be pulled down after a lack of use in recent years.

ALEXANDRA BOLKAS January 28, 2014 4:33am

Undera's Neville Archibald, Kayelene Reid, Chris Canzou and Judy Pettifer outside Undera Memorial Hall.


Samuel Nicholl remembers when Undera Memorial Hall was the star feature of the town’s social calender.

Born in Ireland, Mr Nicholl, 92, moved to Undera in 1957.

He recalls a time when the hall heaved with men and women dressed in their finest for the town’s monthly dances.

‘‘The dances were pretty good. It was always a full house, the whole town would come out,’’ Mr Nicholl said.

Back then he said the hall, built in 1928 as a WW1 memorial, was used for everything, including dances, card competitions and sporting events.

‘‘People would play cards all the time and every summer there was a card competition,’’ he said.

He said another memorable event was the 1959 chainsaw championship.

‘‘It was a big day, they also played hookey and darts,’’ he said.

Mr Nicholl said the town’s decision to pull down the hall in favour of a Country Fire Authority building was bad.

‘‘It’s not right,’’ he said.

Undera Memorial Hall Committee president Neville Archibald said the committee had no option but to apply for the building to get pulled down.

 

He said the site would be used for a new CFA building after a 25-year lease was signed with the hall committee.

‘‘The (Undera) community doesn’t want (the hall),’’ Mr Archibald said.

He said the hall was no longer structurally sound and shut its doors in 2009.

‘‘There are white ants and structural damage due to foundation problems on the roof,’’ he said.

Mr Archibald said a public meeting to decide the hall’s fate took place in 2011.

‘‘Thirty-two people were present, 28 voted for its demolition and one person questioned what would be left for the kids,’’ he said.

Mr Archibald said he joined the hall’s committee after moving to Undera in 1996.

He said he went to many hall dances in the late 1990s, but could not remember the last booking he received for the hall before its doors closed.

‘‘No-one has kitchen teas anymore, the number of times it was booked was minimal,’’ Mr Archibald said.

He said he felt sad it had come to this.

‘‘I let it ride so long in the hope someone would come up to me and express their interest in it,’’ Mr Archibald said.

‘‘I’m sad to see it go, but the community made the decision that any funding the town received was to be directed to the hub.’’

Judy Pettifer’s grandfather’s name is etched on to an honour board inside the building.

‘‘My pop Frank Sellwood was a World War I veteran,’’ Mrs Pettifer said.

‘‘It’s very sad, but you do need community support to keep it running.

‘‘It’s just people our age or older that are interested and oldies have moved away from the area.’’

Mr Archibald said once demolition started the hall’s historical content would be temporarily stored at Undera Primary School.

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