In memory of those who served
In the early 1920s, residents in the Ladysmith district, under the leadership of Mr Stan Wild, started a building fund to raise money for a “War Memorial Hall” to be built in the village.
Over the three years of 1923-1925, £580 was raised by the Hall Committee through donations, sports meetings, dances and other entertainment events. A large number of working bees were also held to transport quartz stone to the site and prepare it for mixing with concrete.
The new reinforced concrete structure measured 50 feet by 30 feet in the main hall, with a stage of 20 feet by 16 feet, and two dressing rooms of 12 feet square.
The construction of the hall cost just under £1,000. The remaining funds were guaranteed by Anthony Brunskill, F.F. Copland, S. Wild and P. Watson, whilst the Hall Committee investigated other fundraising methods to pay off the debt owed.
The foundation stone for the Ladysmith Memorial Hall was laid on August 5 1925 by Mr M. Fitzpatrick (MLA).
Such was the importance of the event for the Ladysmith district that the schoolchildren from Ladysmith Public School were given a half holiday to attend the ceremony. That evening, a dinner was also held and another £123 pounds was raised through donations to go towards the cost of the Hall.
A ball was held to mark the official opening of the new Memorial Hall on August 21 1925, with between 60 and 70 couples in attendance despite inclement weather. During the night, Mr S. Wild, the President of the Hall Committee delivered a short speech where he officially declared the new Memorial Hall open.
After the end of World War II in 1945, the decision was made to extend the Hall so fundraising began again.
Finally, on 9 June 1956, all the hard work and fundraising paid off, when the Governor of New South Wales, Sir John Northcott, opened the new additions.
More than 1,000 people were in attendance at the function, which saw the front of the Hall lit with coloured lights, and a large revolving model of the world was erected on top of the new additions.
References: The Daily Advertiser (13 Sep 1923, p.2; 6 Aug 1925, p.5; 27 Aug 1925, p.6; 11 June 1956, p.3. ‘A History of Ladysmith & District’ published to commemorate the Centenary of schooling at Ladysmith, pp. 24-28.