Celebrating Woody Point landmark’s centenary

Celebrating Woody Point landmark’s centenary

The heritage-listed Woody Point Memorial Hall celebrates its centenary this month and remains a hub for community activity – just what its proponents would have wanted.

And it was the community who gathered to pay tribute to the landmark, and those who worked tirelessly to build it, during a morning tea on March 3.

During the event, Redcliffe RSL President Neville Cullen spoke about the history of the building.

“Planning for the establishment of a School of Arts building at Woody Point commenced in the late 1890s with fundraising by the citizens of Redcliffe beginning in 1911,” Neville said.

“By the time of the outbreak of World War 1 in 1914, fundraising had reached close to £90 and was put on hold for the duration of the war.”

Schools of Arts were a primary source of learning and instruction for adults in the 19th and early 20th centuries, when state secondary education was almost non-existent.

“Shortly after the end of the first World War, fundraising recommenced for the Woody Point School of Arts building and in 1920 the newly established Redcliffe Sub- Branch of the Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League of Australia (RSSILA) was formed by 15 returned servicemen, who are among those listed on the Honour Board that is still located to this day in the Woody Point War Memorial Hall,” he said.

See our photo gallery from the centenary celebrations

Paying tribute

The honour roll lists the names of the 94 servicemen who enlisted from the peninsula, seven of whom died, and three ‘war workers’.

Every eligible man from the district had enlisted with the Australian Imperial Force (AIF).

In July 1920, a meeting was held to form a committee to work on the hall project.

In November the same year, it held a public meeting and moved that the building be known as the Woody Point Memorial School of Arts to “make the institution a patriotic one” and honouring the sacrifices made by servicemen and women in World War I.

There were some delays in the construction of Woody Point Memorial School of Arts partly due to fundraising efforts for the tree-lined, bitumen-covered Anzac Memorial Avenue which opened in 1925.

The Redcliffe Sub Branch of the RSSILA formed in 1920 and actively worked to raise the necessary capital.

By December 1921, about £800 had been raised and the Commercial Bank of Australia agreed to fund it on securities provided by seven Woody Point residents. In the end, the arrangement was changed to a private guarantee by JH Cox.

The architect was Hubert Thomas and the hall was finished and handed over on December 21, 1921. The opening was delayed to enable then Governor Sir Mathew Nathan to open it on the same day at new jetties at Redcliffe and Woody Point. It was officially opened on March 4, 1922.

“The Redcliffe RSL continues to this day to utilise the Woody Point War Memorial Hall, providing an ANZAC Day service, particularly for the elderly pensioners of the Woody Point area that were unable to attend the ANZAC Day services … a service that dates back to the late 1950s/60s,” Neville said.

See more local history here

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