Updated: Dec 13, 2022
A School of Arts was proposed for Redcliffe in 1899 and land set aside on the reserve at Woody Point in 1900. Building commenced in 1921 and the Woody Point Memorial School of Arts was opened by the Governor Of Queensland in 1922:
Tenders were received by 24 September 1921. These ranged from £1000 to £1400. On the advice of the architect, Hubert Thomas, the tender of Messrs F and A Pitfield was accepted. HGO Thomas (1857-1922) immigrated to Brisbane from Wales in 1883. He practised as an architect in his own right from c.1885, and from 1898 onwards he lived and practiced at Sandgate, where he served on the local School of Arts Committee. Specialising in urban villas, Thomas became a Member of the Society of Architects, London, in 1904, and a Fellow of the Queensland Institute of Architects c.1910. He was the founder of the St David's Society in Brisbane (extant by 1918), and was its President at the time of his death on the night of 1–2 March 1922, after the annual dinner of the society - two days before the Woody Point Memorial School of Arts was officially opened.
The building he designed at Woody Point consisted of a hall 30 feet (9.1 m) wide x 50 feet (15 m) long, plus a stage area 30 feet (9.1 m) wide by 15 feet (4.6 m) long. Small wings on either side of the raised stage each contained a room 12 feet (3.7 m) wide by 15 feet (4.6 m) long. Verandas on each side of the hall, south of the wings, accessed both the main hall and each wing, and there was an entrance porch on the southeast (front) elevation. Decorative battens ornamented the front gable and the smaller porch gable; three roof ventilators were located along the ridge, and a large flagpole stood in front of the entrance (since replaced by a smaller version). Originally, there were also timber fences either side of the hall. At some stage the front elevation of the hall was stuccoed.
Brisbane Courier 30th December 1921:
MEMORIAL SCHOOL OF ARTS. NEW INSTITUTION AT WOODY POINT.
About three years before the Great War certain progressive spirits at Woody Point initiated a movement for the erection of a School of Arts on a reserve surveyed for the purpose at Woody Point. Owing to the war the prosecution of the scheme was delayed and the money collected between £80 and £90 was placed in the names of trustees in the Government Savings Bank. On the cessation of hostilities the movement was revived and ths time the line followed in many centres throughout the Empire was taken and the rules were amended to change the name of the proposed building to "The Woody Point Memorial School of Arts."
From that time whole-hearted efforts have been made in all parts of the Humpybong Peninsula and in October last plans and specifications were prepared, and tenders for the election of the building were called.
The amounts of the tenders ranged from £1400 to £1000 and under and on the advice of the architect (Mr H G O Thomas) the tender of Messrs. G and A Pitfield was accepted The soldiers of the district completed the capping of the last 30 stumps in November, and, as promised the contractors pushed on with the work to enable a sale of work to he held on 21st instant.
About £300 has been collected, and promises of fresh support are being constantly received The construction of an honour board of special design has been entrusted Mr John Storie jnr. The board will afterwards be suitably decorated, and placed in a prominent position with the captured German machine gun allotted to the town by the war trophy museum. The official opening ceremony has been set down for January 26th (It was delayed until March 4th)
The photo below is of the attendees at the opening on March 4th 1922:
The Great War (1914-19) Honour Roll at the Woody Point Memorial Hall:
In 1928, alterations to the hall were carried out to enable movies to be shown. A bio-box (projection room) was constructed above the front entrance gable, as shown in photographs of the hall from this period.
Moving picture shows were proposed for the School Of Arts hall in November 1928:
The School Of Arts now had exclusive rights to Paramount Pictures in the area.
Opening night of the new Woody Point picture show was on 29th November 1928, and was a gala event attended by the Mayor Alderman Bailey, Mrs Bailey and a capacity crowd.
Woody Point School Of Arts advert in the Humpybong weekly Nov 29th 1928 advertising the opening night of the new picture show.
Star Emil Jannings, was an international silent film star and Oscar winner and did not speak english. When talking pictures began a few years later, he quietly returned to Germany.
The Fate of a Flirt is a 1925 silent romantic comedy directed by Frank R. Strayer, which stars Dorothy Revier, Forrest Stanley, and Thomas Ricketts. It was released by Columbia Pictures on November 15, 1925.
Woody Point School Of Arts advert in the Humpybong weekly October 12th 1929:
Woody Point School Of Arts advert in the Humpybong weekly September 21st 1929:
Fools for Luck is a 1928 American silent comedy film directed by Charles Reisner and written by Harry Fried, George Marion Jr., Sam Mintz, and J. Walter Ruben. The film stars W.C. Fields, Chester Conklin, Sally Blane, Jack Luden, Mary Alden, Arthur Housman, and Robert Dudley. The film was released on June 11th 1928, by Paramount Pictures.
Doomsday is a 1928 American romance drama silent film directed by Rowland V. Lee and starring Florence Vidor and Gary Cooper. Written by Julian Johnson, Donald W. Lee, and Doris Anderson, based on the 1927 novel Doomsday by Warwick Deeping, the film is about a woman who marries a wealthy landowner to escape her life of poverty, leaving behind the handsome farmer she truly loves. Produced by Jesse L. Lasky, Rowland V. Lee, Hector Turnbull, and Adolph Zukor for Paramount Pictures, Doomsday was released on February 18, 1928 in the United States.
Woody Point School Of Arts advert in the Humpybong weekly November 2nd 1929:
A Dog of the Regiment is a 1927 American silentdrama film directed by D. Ross Lederman. This film is presumed lost.According to Warner Bros records the film earned $188,000 domestic and $59,000 foreign.
Based on a story by Albert S. Howson, the film traces the life of Rin-Tin-Tin "from the time he was a puppy to the time when he fell into the hands of an American, fighting in France. The American is an flyer whose plane went down behind German lines.
The film focuses on two rival families, the Kellys and the Dugans. Bob Kelly is a policeman like his father, while Anne Dugan's brother is a criminal who commits arson as a cover for robberies.
Woody Point School Of Arts advert in the Humpybong weekly January 30th 1930:
Beware of Married Men is a 1928 American comedy film directed by Archie Mayo and starring Irene Rich, Clyde Cook and Audrey Ferris. It was produced and distributed by Warner Brothers with a Vitaphone track.
Woody Point School Of Arts advert in the Humpybong weekly September 27th 1930
advertising the new talkies show:
Acquitted is a 1929 American melodrama directed by Frank R. Strayer, from a screenplay by Keene Thompson. The film stars Lloyd Hughes, Margaret Livingston, and Sam Hardy, and was released by Columbia Pictures on November 15, 1929
Talking pictures arrived on 27th September 1930, and were shown until 1937.
In the "Everyones" magazine April 1936, it was noted that the Dual Junior E6 equipment was installed with Raycophone, delighting with excellent sound"
The movies, according to advertisements in the local paper, were invariably followed by a dance. These dances were accompanied by a Victor piano bought for £135 by the committee, initially for silent movies.
With the opening of the Hornibrook Highway Toll Bridge in October 1935, residential development increased, along with the number of holiday makers, and more use was made of the Woody Point foreshore to pitch tents during the Christmas period. A bathing pavilion, designed by architect CE Plant, was built in 1937 opposite the Memorial School of Arts. During the Christmas period, when camping was popular around the peninsula, entertainment in the hall was a nightly affair.
By the late 1930s management of the hall by the trustees had declined in quality from previous years. A subsequent review by the Brisbane Land Agent on behalf of the Lands Administration Board recommended that the original gazettal be cancelled and the land re-gazetted under the trusteeship of the Redcliffe Town Council (established 1921). The Council having agreed to accept the trusteeship in 1938, it was gazetted as trustees in October 1943. At this time the land was re-gazetted as a "Soldiers Memorial Hall Reserve"
On 26 June 1943, as requested by the Council, the name of the hall was altered by the Department of Lands to Woody Point War Memorial Hall. The school of arts function ceased, the library closed and its books were transferred to form the nucleus of the council library. According to relevant by-laws gazetted on 8 May 1948, a management committee became responsible for the running of the hall.
In 1952, the Memorial Hall was the only public hall on the peninsula.
In the 1950s, extensions, financed by Redcliffe Town Council, lengthened the hall by 25 feet (7.6 m) to the northwest (stage end); to a new total length of 90 feet (27 m). The extensions, which were carried out by Bird at a cost of £1800, were officially opened on 5 March 1955. The Council paid for the new stage to be levelled and raised in November 1958 at a cost of £95. During the 1950s, the Eildon Croquet Club opened to the north of the hall, and part of the club extends onto the Memorial Hall Reserve.
Local people indicate the importance of this hall in the social life of the area. The local community members speak fondly, the older ones adamantly, on the broad range of activities held in the hall, which became very much a part of their lives. They talk of it as having a "sense of place" in the area's social memory. Some examples of organisations which have used the hall include: the Order of the Eastern Star; Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes; Redcliffe Musical Arts Society; Redcliffe Eisteddfod Committee; Redcliffe Youth Club, Redcliffe Marching Girls, and the Indoor Bowls Club. The Humpybong Yacht Club, the Woody Point and Clontarf Progress Association, the Queensland Country Women's Association, Redcliffe Citizens Cultural Club, and the Pensioners League held monthly meetings in the hall. In addition, local dance schools made use of the hall, including the Sylvena School of Dancing (later became the Sharon Alback Dance School); and the Sylvia Curie Dance School. Alan and Pat Boulton still hold modern dance classes in the hall every Friday evening.
Woody Point Memorial Hall was listed on the Queensland Heritage Register on 14th March 2014.
The hall continues to serve as an enduring and well-used war memorial and multi-purpose community venue into the 21st century. As at 2017, it is owned and operated by the Moreton Bay Regional Council.
A page from our Pictorial History of Redcliffe Book 1824-1949 - available to purchase at the following link: https://www.redcliffebook.com/product-page/the-pictorial-history-of-redcliffe