placeholder image

‘A special Australian country thing’: the small hall in Australian country life

Chapter


Abstract


  • Small community halls in Australian country towns have distant precedents in

    guildhalls, town halls and civic centres of Europe and city halls of the United

    States of America. In Australia, they also enjoy strong historic associations with

    nineteenth-century schools of arts and mechanics institutes. Small halls have

    been used by key institutions such as schools, churches and worker educational

    movements. They have been hired out for weddings and parties, acted as temporary

    cinemas, enabled fundraising activities and hosted passing entertainers

    from nineteenth-century minstrel shows to twenty-first-century touring bands.

    As public venues maintained by volunteers and regulated by local councils, such

    halls are central to negotiations between the complex hopes, assumptions and

    constraints of placemaking in out-of-the-way places. Stories told about them

    help us understand how generations of different users - long-time residents, in-migrants and passing visitors - adapt to the ideals of belonging and becoming

    that an individual community claims as its own.

Publication Date


  • 2017

Citation


  • Nichols, D., Bowles, K. & Waitt , G. "‘A special Australian country thing’: the small hall in Australian country life." Cultural Sustainability in Rural Communities: Rethinking Australian Country Towns. Ed.K. Darian-Smith, C. Driscoll & D. Nichols. Abingdon, United Kingdom: Routledge, 2017, 121-136.

Book Title


  • Cultural Sustainability in Rural Communities: Rethinking Australian Country Towns

Start Page


  • 121

End Page


  • 136

Place Of Publication


  • Abingdon, United Kingdom

Abstract


  • Small community halls in Australian country towns have distant precedents in

    guildhalls, town halls and civic centres of Europe and city halls of the United

    States of America. In Australia, they also enjoy strong historic associations with

    nineteenth-century schools of arts and mechanics institutes. Small halls have

    been used by key institutions such as schools, churches and worker educational

    movements. They have been hired out for weddings and parties, acted as temporary

    cinemas, enabled fundraising activities and hosted passing entertainers

    from nineteenth-century minstrel shows to twenty-first-century touring bands.

    As public venues maintained by volunteers and regulated by local councils, such

    halls are central to negotiations between the complex hopes, assumptions and

    constraints of placemaking in out-of-the-way places. Stories told about them

    help us understand how generations of different users - long-time residents, in-migrants and passing visitors - adapt to the ideals of belonging and becoming

    that an individual community claims as its own.

Publication Date


  • 2017

Citation


  • Nichols, D., Bowles, K. & Waitt , G. "‘A special Australian country thing’: the small hall in Australian country life." Cultural Sustainability in Rural Communities: Rethinking Australian Country Towns. Ed.K. Darian-Smith, C. Driscoll & D. Nichols. Abingdon, United Kingdom: Routledge, 2017, 121-136.

Book Title


  • Cultural Sustainability in Rural Communities: Rethinking Australian Country Towns

Start Page


  • 121

End Page


  • 136

Place Of Publication


  • Abingdon, United Kingdom