Community celebrates Hatherleigh Hall

Merle Stevens, with her daughter Helen Varcoe, attended the hall's anniversary which was built on land donated by her father Frank Skeer. (Caroline Hammat: 417754)

Caroline Hammat

Around 70 people attended the Hatherleigh Hall 70th Anniversary afternoon tea event on Saturday.

The hall was decorated with a display of handmade quilts – made by past and present members of the Hatherleigh Craft Group – bunting, flowers and even a scarecrow.

President of the Hatherleigh Hall committee, Chris Skeer said he was happy with the turnout.

“Its one of those things you never know who is going to come, but there’s a lot of people here I’ve never seen before in my life,” he said.

Mr Skeer spoke about the hall’s usage over the years which included regular table tennis competitions, dances, indoor bowls and even church services.

Mayor Des Noll said community halls were as important today as they were generations ago.

“The halls have meant so much for the communities, these have been the central point where communities get together, socialise, network and build relationships.

“If these walls could talk, the stories that they would tell would be exciting, there would be a lot of history.”

Among the guests were 94 year old Allan Sandford who travelled from Adelaide for the event.

Mr Sandford gave an entertaining speech and spoke about his work as a carpenter and joiner on various building projects in Hatherleigh.

He was 24 years old when he constructed the roof and put in some of the floor joists for the hall.

It was Mr Sandford’s uncle, Frank Skeer, who donated the land for the hall and Frank Skeer’s daughter Merle Stevens also attended the event.

The Skeer family, whose relatives were heavily involved in getting the hall built, were well represented at the gathering.

Wilma Zanello and her son Peter travelled from Robe to attend and enjoyed the history display which included photos of her husband Ralph who, alongside Anthony Buffon, undertook the building of the hall’s stonework.

Afternoon tea guests were treated to scones and a cuppa, with a range of home grown produce and baked goods available to purchase.

The event was held to raise funds for the ongoing costs of running the hall.

Organisers were pleased to announce a total of $910 was raised from the day.