SOMETHING TO CELEBRATE: The Channon Hall’s selection for the If These Halls Could Talk project was exciting news for its community. The picture above shows the hall in about 1912. It was moved to its present site in Mill St in 1924.
SOMETHING TO CELEBRATE: The Channon Hall’s selection for the If These Halls Could Talk project was exciting news for its community. The picture above shows the hall in about 1912. It was moved to its present site in Mill St in 1924. Jules Ober

The Channon Hall's historical tales to be shared

FROM teary farewells to euphoric reunions, blissful nuptials and rowdy protests - The Channon Hall has seen it all and so much more.

It's a hall with a detailed thesis penned about it - a 108-year-old community icon - and a fitting selection for Arts Northern Rivers' If These Halls Could Talk project.

If the hall could choose a spokesperson, it would likely find it difficult to go past Beth Wallach, a long-time member of The Channon Hall Trust and the person who nominated the hall.

But as she'll quickly point out, Ms Wallach is just one of thousands of locals who've formed a tight affinity with the Crown Lands community hub.

The next phase of the If These Halls Could Talk project will see a community engagement co-ordinator and an artistic team embedded in seven halls, including The Channon, to create an artistic response to the history of the hall and its community.

The Channon Hall in about 1912. It was moved to its present site in Mill Street in 1924.
The Channon Hall in about 1912. It was moved to its present site in Mill Street in 1924. Contributed

"It's incredibly important to our community. It's used almost every evening, which in this day and age is pretty good," Ms Wallach said.

"It has hosted, and still hosts, weddings, reunions, farewells, funerals - it's even a polling booth, so everyone has to come here at one point."

"The Channon Market, now internationally famous, also started here in the 70s.

"It even used to be a skating rink, at some point, possibly in the 30s.

"And it's been a school and worked as a preschool."

Demonstrating the hall's importance, Ms Wallach said it was even more beloved than the town's picturesque pub - often a popular meeting place for regional communities.

The Channon Hall Trust Committee's Beth Wallach soaks in the historic hall following its If These Halls Could Talk selection.
The Channon Hall Trust Committee's Beth Wallach soaks in the historic hall following its If These Halls Could Talk selection. Luke Mortimer

"Even a month or so ago we had a bush dance and most of the town came along," she said.

"We're all very proud of our community and our hall."

The hall even hosted one of Australia's first successful anti-logging campaigns, which led to the landmark decision to end rainforest logging in New South Wales.

In recent years it has been a home base for anti-coal seam gas campaigners.

"The anti-CSG movement, the NSW part, was almost born in this hall in one of the original meetings. Most of the community turned up," Ms Wallach said.

"Our hall has led a colourful life."

Ms Wallach thanked Arts Northern Rivers for "the opportunity to participate in this fantastic project".

Communities have been invited to continue to share stories and images of their hall on the If These Halls Could Talk's Instagram and Facebook page as the two-year project progresses.



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