HOME OF THE LADY DENMAN - Local history isn't always about the big story - the everyday story of life in the early development of the region can be a fascinating, entertaining and educational journey.

16 October 2016

Tomerong School of Arts.

The official opening of the School of Arts was held 90 years ago on the 15th october 1926.


The occasion was celebrated with a great gathering of people from the surrounding districts.
The opening of a community School Of Arts was a big milestone in any community.  It took many years of planing and fund raising before the building was realised.  The building would soon become the centre for entertainment, dancing, singing, debating, community gatherings and local government, to which end it still serves the community today 90 years later.

Built of weatherboard and iron by Mr. Jas Muller for a local commitee,  the dimensions on opening measured 40ft by 30ft overall,  Inside there was a timber dance floor and a 12 foot stage for entertainment. The building cost approximatly 300 pounds and another 150 pounds expended to provide a pianola, water tank and other conveniences.

A proportion of the cost was met by fund raising over many years,  and the balance was granted by three local public spirited citizens – Messrs. J. Watt, H. Watt and McGuire.


The official opening took place on a Friday night in the presence of a packed gathering.  Every house in the neighbourhood was said to have been present at the ceremony.  Cr. W. Watt, President of the Clyde Shire presided, and amongst the visitors Messers. J. A. Perkins,  Federal member of Eden Monaro,  and Mr H.J. Bate,  one of the state members for Goulburn.


At the time of the opening Tomerong’s local band consisting of eleven players,  played their first public appearance and was a great success.   Solos,  Duets, and a quartette were rendered by members of the Watt family, a couple of ballads by Mr. McDonald,  of Wandandian,  a piano selection by Miss E. Mc Donald, a comic element was supplied by Charlie Chaplin, from the Naval College,  who was regarded as an artist above the ordinary,  was recalled several times.

A burlesque, “The Tomerong Farmers Club,” was staged by half a dozen local men,  each artist was met with hearty approval by the large audience.

After the official opening ceremony where Mr Bate declared the School of Arts open, refreshments were provided and served up by local ladies,  the hall was cleared and dancing indulged in for several hours,  the accommodation being taxed to the utmost.

The official opening was regarded as a great success,  socially and finacially.

” Heather Bell ”

Here is a letter penned by a young girl that wrote stories to the Albury Banner and Wodonga Express under the name of “Heather Bell”  she lived at Tomerong at the time of the opening and wrote  this letter to a newspaper collumist that went by the name of “Uncle Geoff”.


Dear uncle Jeff, – It is some time since I wrote to the Page, but we have had quite a busy time lately.  It turned out very hot for the children’s day during  ‘Back to Shoalhaven Week.” but we still enjoyed it.  One lot of maypole children could not do their dance owing to a number of them becoming ill through the heat,  but the other ten did.  The verious costumes looked so pretty.
Now our School of Arts has been opened there are entertainments every week.  At the opening I played a piano solo called  “A night in Venice.” 
I sat for my High School Exam in October,  but will not know the results until after Christmas.
I like my school very much,  but I certainly am pleased Christmas is close; we always have such a happy time,  and I’m longing to get to the beach.  We have had such hot weather lately.  I am learning “ Alice Where Art Thou” with variations on the piano now,  and have just finished  “Moonlight on the Hudson, ”    I do enjoy Carnival Bell’s stories.  Wishing yourself and all your cousins a Merry Christmas -  I am your fond neice,  ‘'’Heather Bell.”

Continue to other fun and fascinating stories by “Heather Bell”

Today the hall still provides a place for dancing, music and community activities and  meetings.  Every third  Saturday of the month, 8am-1pm the community markets are held in Tomerong and the hall is an historical feature of that event.

Continue reading about the history of Tomerong.



No comments :

Post a Comment