It was family fun on the weekend for the Broadwater Rileys Hill Hall Parade.
It was family fun on the weekend for the Broadwater Rileys Hill Hall Parade. Jules Oberr

GALLERY: Town hall's birthday celebrated with street party

PEOPLE paraded through the streets of Broadwater on the weekend to celebrate their local hall's 20th birthday.

Broadwater Rileys Hill Hall was built in the mid 1990s after a 30-year period without a dedicated town meeting place.

Hall committee member Fiona Reddoch said the birthday event was a huge success, with 300 people in attendance.

"I'm over the moon about it," she said.

"It was bigger than we expected, a lot people felt wowed by what they experienced and the atmosphere was just (like) a community party."

BROADWATER HALL: The If These Halls Could Talk Broadwater Hall team are looking forward to working together. From left: Betty Archer from the Broadwater Hall committee, Simone O'Brien from Spaghetti Circus, Fiona Reddoch from the hall committee and Valley Lipcer from Roundabout Theatre.
BROADWATER HALL: The If These Halls Could Talk Broadwater Hall team are looking forward to working together. From left: Betty Archer from the Broadwater Hall committee, Simone O'Brien from Spaghetti Circus, Fiona Reddoch from the hall committee and Valley Lipcer from Roundabout Theatre. Cathryn McLauchlan

The event was run by If These Halls Could Talk in collaboration with the hall committee, Spaghetti Circus, Roundabout Theatre and artist Joey Ruigrok van der Werven.

Peter Wood, who is from the organisation that managed the project, Arts Northern Rivers, said people attended from across the Northern Rivers, including the young and old and new, current and former residents.

"From the beginning of the project it was all about engaging with local families and young people," he said.

"On the weekend we had such a great response."

The celebrations saw floats and costumes, a big party, performances and a huge cake to share around.

Mr Wood said the highlight for him was seeing families re-engage with their community hall.

Ms Reddoch's highlight was the performance of hall stories, and even more-so the lead up to the weekend.

"Highlights were also leading up to it, so the Picnic Day back on February 14 ... and the workshop leading up to it, making things for parade, that was tremendously exciting for the kids in our town."

There are seven halls in the spotlight for the If These Halls Could Talk project and five of them are yet to host their main events.

History of Broadwater halls

IN 1915 the town boasted five halls: Byrne Hall, Good Templars Lodge Hall, Manchester Unity Oddfellows Hall, Masonic Hall and the Grand United Oddfellows Hall also known as Albert Hall.

Over the years they were demolished or burned down, until finally in the mid 1960s the last one - Albert Hall - was demolished.

From that point town celebrations were held an the Sunshine Sugar Cooperative Sugar Mill Hall, and despite limited facilities it became a popular place for school concerts and visits from Santa each year.

When it began showing signs of deterioration in the 1990s, local councillor Reg Waters put forward the idea to build a new town hall and in 1995 a site was picked at Little Pitt St.

Broadwater Riley's Hill Hall was officially opened on September 7, 1996, by Mayor Col Sullivan and Deputy Mayor Reg Waters



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