Backward Glance – Old country hall rafters rang with the sound of music and laughter
  • Wednesday 13 February 2019

Today we turn back the clock to focus on the old country halls which came alive to the sound of music on Friday or Saturday nights here on the Sunshine Coast.

The master of ceremonies, local musicians, visiting dance bands, ball room dancing, as well as novelty dances and sometimes a visiting act or yodeller, all played a part.

These social events were always reported in the local paper and it was very important that the reporter correctly described the ladies’ dresses and included the name of any important community guests.

Supper was usually served midway through the evening and large pots of tea, labelled “black” or “white with one”, were brought around to fill empty cups.

Sandwiches and cakes were also set out in the ‘supper room’ or passed around during the break.

Alcohol generally wasn’t served at the dances but some men would be seen taking a nip of spirits, behind the hall, while no one was looking.

Women would bring their children and bunked them down with bedding under their seats, around the walls or in the cloak room.

The rafters rang with the sound of music and the laughter of friends and sweethearts.

The people who came caught up with the farm or family news, danced and enjoyed themselves until late.

Then they would head home, knowing it would be an early start for farming or milking the next day.

Dairies were once a predominant part of the Sunshine Coast landscape. 

Special events from the past are sometimes commemorated in framed photographs at our local halls.

The Hunchy Hall was officially opened by R J Warren MLA on November 21, 1925.

It provided a place to meet and socialise and the well-advertised event drew a large crowd.

It combined a fete, sports events and luncheon with an evening dance to follow.

A dance was held in the Diggers' Hall Nambour to mark the closing of the Nambour Rural School in Mitchell Street, on December 12, 1930.

Following the schools closure, a new Rural School commenced in Carroll Street in 1931.

Many dances were held to raise funds for the armed forces during the war.

They were well attended by the community and any members of the armed forces stationed here on the Coast.

One of the biggest events was the Landsborough Queen Competition on September 29, 1941. Funds were raised for a training plane.

The music was by Thompson’s Band and supper was provided by the ladies of Landsborough.

A total of $2214 was raised by the district to assist the war effort.

In 1949 Violet Dawson was crowned Queen of the Glideway Hall at Kings Beach.

The Glideway Hall, built in 1939, was promoted as having the best wooden dance floor in the district, with beautiful high ceilings and lights.

Many of the older halls had carbide lighting or lamps.

Exhibition skating was featured as a drawcard as well as dancing at the Glideaway.

Photographs of school break ups, visiting dignitaries, weddings, birthdays, debutante balls and other events held in these halls are now distant reminders of the past.

For many communities the local hall is now a dusty relic, but for some communities it’s still the heart of the town.

As the years move on the style of music and dancing has changed, but not the old country hall and country hospitality.

Many of the older halls on the Sunshine Coast remain almost unchanged from the time they were built.

They are a testimony to our pioneers, who had the vision to build great gathering places for the community.

Community halls have always been a place for people to gather, for fundraisers and celebrations – they are an essential part of community life.

Thanks to Sunshine Coast Council’s Heritage Library for the words and Picture Sunshine Coast for the images.


Image details 

Hero Image: Opening of the Hunchy Hall in 1925.

Image 1: Caloundra's second debutante ball held at the School of Arts Hall, 1946.

Image 2: Eudlo Public Hall Rosebed Street, Eudlo, ca 1990.

Image 3: Belli Community Hall, Kenilworth Road, Belli Park, ca 1990. Constructed in 1932, the Hall has always been used by the Community as a venue for meetings, dances, family parties and weddings.

Image 4: Diddillibah Community Hall, Diddillibah Rd, Diddillibah. Formerly the State School building it was officially opened as a community Hall in June 1938 to provide a place for the social and other activities of Diddillibah.