The Hall building started its life as a courthouse at Townsvale (Veresdale), along with a police station, jail, and jailhouse.

After the courthouse was no longer used, the government called for tenders for its removal. Through the members of the district, it was purchased for a negotiated price of £5 for the purpose of removing it to a very central site, to be used as a School of Arts and public hall “with the intention to enlarge it so to make it worthy of the district”.

The residents gathered together a team of 44 bullocks, lifted the building bodily off its stumps and placed it on logs (as a slide). After one day, they got as far as the Veresdale Hotel. The second day, the chains kept breaking while pulling up “Hiscock’s Hill”, and they were repaired by Hopkins & Hiscock’s Blacksmith, located nearby. They managed to place the building “whole and uninjured” at its present site.

The original committee was made up of local residents Richard Day, George Fredrick Plunkett, Verdon Hinchcliffe, David Day, John Hopkins, David Ferguson, William Hiscock and George Willson.

The hall has been managed and maintained by dedicated members of the local community for the past 130 years, many of these people are descendants of this original committee. The current executive, which includes Brian Manderson (President), John Gittins (Vice President), Arthur Day (Secretary), Delma Day (Treasurer) and Tammie Jones (Public Relations Officer), have a combined total of over 200 years of voluntary service.

The building has seen quite a few changes over the years, including a new dance floor, and the first extension on the northern side, in 1929.

Different types of lighting have been installed at the hall, including acetylene lights in 1909, to generators being installed to run electric lighting, before electricity was connected in the 1950s.

Standing (L-R) Richard Day, George Fredrick Plunkett, Verdon Hinchcliffe, David Day, John Hopkins. 
Seated (L-R) David Ferguson, William Hiscock, George Willson.
Standing (L-R) Richard Day, George Fredrick Plunkett, Verdon Hinchcliffe, David Day, John Hopkins. Seated (L-R) David Ferguson, William Hiscock, George Willson.

A new piano was installed in 1941. There was a 10-foot verandah added on the southern side of the hall, and posts in the inside of the hall (dance floor) were removed and replaced by a supporting beam in 1947.

The Library, which was behind the stage in the School of Arts’ time, has been turned into a kitchen. The two outside thunderbox toilets were replaced with septic systems, and the hall was re stumped in 1993, with new steps and hand railings.

Numerous coats of paint on the outside, and the lining of the old walls and ceilings have all been done in the past 30 years. A disability and pram ramp were added about 10 years ago, and a new roof was installed about seven years ago, along with all the fire and safety exit signs.

A War Memorial was erected in front of the hall after World War II. This was paid for by funds remaining from a community war fund for packages sent overseas to serving members on the war front, and cost £90.

The School of Arts changed its identity from the “Woodhill School of Arts” to “Woodhill Hall Committee”, with a board of trustees in 1963.

Then in 1990, became an Incorporated body “The Woodhill Hall Association Inc”, while still holding trusteeship of the facility.

In 2016, the trusteeship was relinquished, and passed on to Logan City Council. The Association is currently in a 10-year lease to manage and maintain the facility with Logan City Council. The hall had been run by the local community for 122 years before this change.

Woodhill Hall Now
Woodhill Hall Now

The activities and stories of this old hall would more than fill a book. In the early days, the Woodhill Lodge M.V.I.O.O.F. ran many of the hall activities. They celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 1950 with a party, and the dancing continued into the small hours of the morning. There was a dance run every month for local charities.

Bobby Dora sold the door tickets, while Len (Darky) Hiscock collected them at the door with his blue dog by his side, and at 9 o’clock, the dog would get up and walk across the road and go home.

Two English ladies, Eddie Hiscock and Molly Day, sold soft drinks for six pence a glass. They used a wash tub to cool the drinks with a corn sack and a slab of ice from the butter factory, broken up with the back of an axe.

It was in the time of “largy” beer bottles and no breath tests, you couldn’t throw an empty bottle down over the fence without hitting another one, there were so many down there.

In the horse and buggy days, it was said that one night, a few of the young blokes went across the road to the church yard (Christ Church – Church of England) where people would leave their horse and cart. They unhitched the horses, and lead them outside and into Everdell’s paddock, then push the cart shafts through the fence and re-hitch the horse with the fence between them. Not very popular at going home time.

Another prank was a few louts would pull the fuses out of the meter box, throw them under the hall, and run. Someone would have to crawl under the hall in the dark to find them.

Woodhill Hall Celebration Flyer
Woodhill Hall Celebration Flyer

There were often fights at the dance, and we always had a policeman there. One night, one of the well-known local coppers joined some of the locals for a drop or two and was happy enough to be at the wash tub after supper washing up. A good time was had by all. More than once, the two outside toilets were pushed over, and had to be re-erected in time for the dance.

The stories can go on and on, with many different uses of the hall. Lodge, dance classes, judo, gymnastics, indoor bowls, weddings, wakes, wog & euchre nights, Rural Youth, fire brigade and water board meetings. Dances have been run to fundraise for Ambulance, cricket, school, Rural Youth and school discos.

Bookings have increased over time, with one-year pre-covid, there was over 260 booking for the year. A grand old hall well used.

On Saturday night, 20th April 2024, there will be celebrating the 130 years with an Old Time / New Vogue Dance at the hall, starting at 7pm.

A live band “The Undecided” playing again for the occasion, just as they have done for over 40 years. Supper will be served, which is included in the admission price of $10, 14 years and over. Under 14s, free. Everyone is welcome to join for this historical occasion. Enquiries 07 5543 1301.

Woodhill Hall – Celebrating 130 Years of Public Service as a School of Arts and Public Hall, as told by Arthur Day, Hall Secretary 1971 to Present.

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