HISTORY OF THE ROBERTS CREEK COMMUNITY HALL
In 1932 the residents of Roberts Creek started a campaign to construct a building where people could gather together to play games, have dances and hold community events. Community functions were organized in an effort to raise money for the project, and many local people offered their labour for free. John Roberts, whose family was among the first Europeans to settle the area, subdivided and donated 0.22 acres of land for the community project in April, 1934, while others donated various necessary materials and labour.
Many residents of Wilson Creek also took an active part. The Elphinstone Bay (Roberts Creek) Farmers Institute became a Board of Trustees for the building. Voluntary labour and an initial donation of $100 built the sills and first floor in 1932, after which the funds were exhausted. Work remained at a standstill until it could be resumed in the fall of 1933 and everyone was pressed into service.
The new “Roberts Creek District Hall” was officially opened on May 24th, 1934.
A dance was held at the opening and $140 was taken on the day. The music was supplied by Mrs. Horsley and W. Marlow, and also Elsie Steinbrunner. The opening day was recorded on film by Helen McCall, who lived and photographed on the Sunshine Coast from the 1920’s through the 1940’s (see photographs below). Admission for men to the Hall in those early days was 25c and for women it was cake or sandwiches. Music, when not donated, was supplied for $1 per hour. There were regular dances, amateur theatrical shows and talent and drama nights for all the family. The hall prospered under the management of the volunteer hall board and it was not long before a kitchen was added to the south side of the building. This was also erected by volunteer labour.
In 1944 the hall board, with considerable help from the Roberts Creek Players Club, built the stage, which was used for the first time on May 27th 1944. In 1945 a recreation club was formed for children between 10 and 18 years for 2 hours of badminton, ping pong and gym exercises at the hall. The hall board donated the cash for gym equipment and also put on a Halloween party.
Early in 1950 the title deed to the Hall was taken over by an incorporated Roberts Creek Community Hall Board under the Society Act, with Mrs. R. Hughes as its first president, Mr. R. Cummings its vice-president and Mr. W. F. Merrick its secretary. On November 18th 1957 a public meeting was held at the Roberts Creek Legion Hall to form a local community association and from that meeting the Roberts Creek Community Association (RCCA) was born. It was incorporated under the Societies Act on January 31st 1958 as a volunteer non-profit association and the first president was R. Cummings.
The hall and land was transferred to the RCCA as the successor organization to the Roberts Creek Hall Board. The key structural elements of the Hall remain the same as when it was built, with a few minor changes. The main hall area is approximately 220 sq. metres (2400 sq. ft.), with a sheet metal roof and small entry porch at the front. The traditional hipped gable roof and walls were secured through spreading four sets of steel bars in a triangular configuration across the top of the side walls and up to the roof, leaving the main floor completely open. The original steel bars supporting the roof were replaced with timber beams and support poles in 1999 as part of a facelift and necessary structural reinforcement. Again, in the spirit of its original construction, the renovations were completed by volunteer labour and donations. These measures were undertaken to ensure building safety, while preserving much of the original materials and character. New bathrooms were installed in 2003 and the kitchen porch renovated in 2013.
The Hall’s original purpose was as a place where people in Roberts Creek could gather together for games, dances and other community events and 80 years later it is still in continuous use for community events and meetings, dances and concerts, weddings and celebrations of life, and remains an important focal point for the community.