North Arm Hall

History from North Arm State School

A report in the Nambour Chronicle on 20 February 1954, tells of a “rampaging 80 mile an hour cyclone which lifted the North Arm School of Arts from its stumps, and in a matter of seconds crashed it to the ground – a heap of wreckage”.

The hall which was church, Sunday School, dance hall and school hall to the people of North Arm for more than a generation was destroyed.

In true community style, the people of North Arm decided to rebuild. Fundraising was boosted by a Courier Mail Flood Relief Fund donation of two hundred and fifty pounds. The people of North Arm gave three weeks of their time to completely rebuild the hall and what a celebration it was that marked the opening of the new hall.

The newspaper of the day reports: “All day more than three hundred men, women and children ran foot races, rode in a gymkhana, threw brooms, pushed barrows, and competed in a terrific programme of open-air events. At dusk many families rushed home to milk cows. At night they were back for the official opening dance. And outside the gay new hall was the biggest collection of cars and trucks in North Arm’s history.”

Researched by Vicky Green

In 1915 there was a need in the community for public and social space. At a public meeting a committee was formed to oversee the building of a School of Arts. A 1/4 acre of the land was acquired from A H Meissener’s selection, which he had alienated from the Crown in 1886. Whether the land was donated is unknown but it was not gazetted as Reserve 486 until 1917. A School of Arts was erected on the land, and in the absence of W Hardacre, the Minister of Education, A H Meissener officially opened the building on 14 January 1916. Whether Meissener, who was a carpenter, built the hall is not known. A concert and a dance were held to celebrate the opening and raise funds, which, supplemented by the government subsidy, would ensure the building was debt free. The committee procured a supply of reading matter some of which they exchanged with Eumundi School of Arts. In 1923 an acetylene gas lighting plane was installed, and changed to electric light in 1934.

In February 1954, cyclonic winds blew the School of Arts off its stumps. With the help of a grant of £250 from the Courier Mail Cyclone Fund, and of volunteers, a committee undertook to re-erected the building. A representative of the Courier Mail in June 1954 opened the hall. The lending library was not reopened and the name changed from a school of Arts to the North Arm Hall. Extensions were completed in 1956. In 2007 renovations and additions, for example, a skillon for barbeques, have been carried out.

The School of Arts became the centre of the social and community center of surrounding area. When flooding made it impossible for the teacher and the majority of pupils to reach the school, lessons were held in the School of Arts. Many school functions and activities to raise funds were held in the old building. In 1962 a Committee of three, G B Davison (secretary-treasurer) E Seaman, and V Perren organized Social and Competition Games for Indoor bowls. Dances were held monthly and a Recreation Club for young members was formed in 1969. An Antique Car Club met weekly from 1971. The Clergy of the Anglican and Uniting Churches held services in the hall. The hall committee held a balls in 1985 & 1990 as part of the Fairhill and North Arm State School Centenary celebrations, & to mark the 75th anniversary of the North Arm State School. The State School’s Parents and Citizens Association have a Christmas function. Residents use the hall for public meetings.

Alcorn et al, Maroochy Heritage Verification and Critical Analysis of Community Nominations 2006/7

1954 photo after cyclone damage

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