History of Precinct – St Mary’s Church and Community Hall
Montville Memorial Hall, St Mary’s Church Hall and Community Hall (Former RSL Hall)
In March 1941 the 22 members of the local branch of the RSSSILA requested that land be set aside for a small RSL club room. In their request they wrote, “We as Returned Soldiers know what the condition of the present soldiers is going to be on their return, and it is with a wish to assist them through that unsettled state that we wish to provide certain social facilities for them”.About 10 perches of the road reserve (village green) was required. The Lands Department agreed to a road closure and annexure of the site.
In June 1941 the Survey Office conducted a survey to create a reserve about 40 feet by 55 feet, as a Reserve for Soldiers’ Memorial Hall.
Eleven perches was gazetted on 26 September 1941. It was placed under the control of Trustees nominated by the Sub-branch. Trustees Trevor Carter, Thomas Roy Copeland and Raymond John Noel Plowman were appointed. A committee was formed and its members included Frank Hetherington and Victor Giles. N. Isaacs was appointed caretaker, a position he held for 18 years.
A building permit was issued by the Maroochy Shire in April 1941. A small loan of £150 was secured from the ES & A Bank at Palmwoods with RSL members acting as guarantors to fund the contractors. However, the hall was built, commencing 28 June 1941, predominantly by voluntary labour, with much of the materials donated. It was built by the men of Montville and Flaxton from timber hewn from their properties on the range. The walls were lined with cedar, donated by Peter Smith and hauled and cut by Trevor Carter. The timber was cut at no cost by the Flaxton sawmill.
The building was sufficiently completed by October that it could be used by the Patriotic Committee.
The official opening of the hall took place in January 1942 and was performed by Henry Smith, the Club patron. The first RSL meeting was held in the hall on 7 January 1942 and the Montville sub-branch continued to meet there until 1978. The hall was also used by members for card games, indoor bowls and other entertainment.
Electricity was installed in January 1942 and the hall was painted for the first time in August that year.
After World War II a white cedar ceiling was installed in the hall at a working bee. The most substantial change to the hall occurred in the late 1950s when the kitchen extension was added to the northern end of the hall. Originally this space was two rooms and was unlined. It was lined in July 1960 with timber donated by C Blair. It was timber taken from an old Kanaka barracks built about 1910 on JC Dixon’s property at Flaxton.49.
From 1960 to 1966 Ernest Baker was appointed caretaker. Around 1966 Raymond John Plowman, an original Trustee died. Remaining Trustees, Thomas Roy Copeland and Trevor Carter, died in circa 1969 and circa 1972 respectively. Membership of the RSL had dwindled, so it was too small to continue.
45. Survey Office to Mr V Giles, Hon. Secretary, Montville Sub-branch, RSSAILA. 18 June 1941. 46. Queensland Government Gazette, 27 September 1941, pp1110-1111. 47. Information provided by C Blair from RSL Records to Richard Dykes. 48. Memories of M “Dumpy” Callaghan as told to Richard Dykes in mid 1978 49. Information from Richard Dykes.
Montville Memorial Precinct Conservation Management Plan 19
The Montville sub-branch closed in 1974 and the South East Branch of the RSSAILA took over control of the hall.50. When the Sub-branch closed the State Executive requested that the hall be sold for removal or demolished if it was no longer used for the public. The site comprised a weatherboard hall (recently painted); 1000 gallon tank and flagpole.51.
The Hall Changes Hands
A meeting of the Montville Hall and Progress Association was held in September 1978 to discuss the future of the RSL Hall. In October 1978 the RSL asked Montville Hall and Progress Association to take over the management of the RSL Hall. They refused as they felt management of two halls was too large a financial burden. A proposal was put to St Mary’s Anglican Church to take over the hall. The church was supportive as they did not have a hall for Sunday School, Guild meetings, Parish meetings and other activities. The hall was close to the church, only separated by the Village Green. The church agreed to maintain and use the hall. Bodies using the hall would donate money to the Ladies’ Guild which would look after the daily management of the hall.52.
In 1978 the RSL resolved to hand the hall over to the Church of England, Montville.53. Three new Trustees – Mr Richard Vivian Widenham Dykes (church sub-warden); Mr Lawrence Smith and Mrs Marjory Doris Copeland. – were appointed on the nomination of St Mary’s church. The hall was renamed the Montville Memorial Hall, St Mary’s Church Hall and Community Hall.54.
A handing over ceremony was held on 3 September 1978. The Church Warden of Palmwoods Parish, Brigadier WW Wearne, OBE, welcomed everyone and a speech was made by Mr MF Clark, MBE, the President of the South Eastern District of RSL, Queensland Branch. Further speeches were made by Mr G Simpson, MLA (Member for Cooroora); Cr E De Vere (Chairman of Maroochy Shire Council); Mr RE Brook (President of Montville Progress and Hall Association) and Mr RVW Dykes (Sub- Warden of St Mary’s Church). A plaque was unveiled by Mrs Marjory Copeland, Trustee and the widow of the one of the original Trustees. The hall was dedicated by the Reverend AJ Gerlach of Palmwoods parish. Refreshments in the hall followed. 55.
The Trustees were gazetted and granted full decision making powers. Reserve R920 was cancelled and a new Reserve (R1333) was created on portion 211 as a
50. Ian Anders, Land Inspector to Lands Commissioner, 2 October 1978. 51. Ian Anders, Land Inspector to Lands Commissioner, 2 October 1978. 52. S Rankin (People’s Warden of Palmwoods Parish) and RVW Dykes (sub-warden of St Mary’s Church), to SE Division of RSL, 29 November 1977. 53. Mr Mark Linton, District Secretary, The RSL, South Eastern District Queensland Branch to Mr RVW Dykes, Sub Warden, St Mary’s. Information provided by Mr Richard Dykes. 54. Information from Richard Dykes. 55. Programme provided by Richard Dykes.
Mrs Marjory Copeland, Trustee and the widow of the one of the original Trustees at the Handing over ceremony on 3 September 1978, photo from Barbara Fowler.
Handing over ceremony on 3 September 1978, photo from Barbara Fowler
Montville Memorial Precinct Conservation Management Plan 20
Reserve for Memorial (Church and Community Centre) purposes under their control as Trustee in 1979.56.
Between 1979 and 1994 only minor works occurred at the hall. Paving and additional lattice work was installed outside the kitchen in 1993.57.
The Verandah Extension on St Mary’s Hall
In 1994 the Montville Hall and Progress Association discussed the proposal for some permanent cover for entertainers when performing on the Village Green which involved building a verandah along the front of St Mary’s Hall. Each year the Association ran the Carols by Candlelight on the Green and an elevated stage was required. Each year they erected a temporary structure which required considerable effort to assemble. The committee gave in principle support to building a permanent verandah which could serve as a stage.
This controversial plan resulted in a heated community debate. Concern over the building’s heritage value promoted an alternative proposal. Colonel George Carpenter wrote an article in The Range News on St Mary’s Hall and opposed the verandah, preferring a temporary structure when needed.59. St Mary’s Parish
NE Hewitt, Minister for Lands, Forestry and Water Resources to Mr GL Simpson, MLA, 19 October 1978. Provided by Richard Dykes. Queensland Government Gazette, 13 January 1979, p. 43. Minutes of the Montville Hall and Progress Association, 25 October 1993. Minutes of the Montville Hall and Progress Association, 31 January 1994. Minutes of the Montville Hall and Progress Association, 28 March 1994.
Survey Plan MCH 2121 showing new Reserve for Memorial (Church and Community Centre) purposes
Montville Memorial Precinct Conservation Management Plan 21
reported in May that it preferred a verandah. The church, assured it was not a heritage building, felt the verandah would enhance the building and that the temporary structure would pose problems dismantling it. Rod Strachan drew up plans for a verandah and obtained quotations.
Rod Strachan, Warden of St Mary’s Church, spoke of plans for St Mary’s Hall. The kitchen was to be completely refurbished. The outside was to be painted. The stage and verandah on the outside was planned in two stages, the roof being stage two. George Carpenter spoke very strongly against the plan. Rod Strachan assured the community that the plans had been drawn in keeping with the historical era of the building.63. In November George Carpenter distributed a pamphlet entitled “Preservation or desecration of Montville Memorial Hall”
Ian Rolle reported that the RSL supported the verandah construction as a dedication on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the end of World War II and wanted to erect a plaque and make $2700 available.
To try and resolve the matter a public meeting was held on 27 February 1995 to discuss the proposed verandah on St Mary’s Memorial Hall. The meeting was attended by 127 people, 120 of whom lived in the Montville Bush Fire Brigade area and so were eligible to vote. Richard Dykes attended the meeting representing the Trustees.
The Anglican Parish Council supported the proposal and had obtained the approval from the Maroochy Shire Council and the Trustees. Rod Strachan, sub-warden of St Mary’s, presented the plans, elevations and artist impression to the meeting, shown on an overhead projector.
The Montville Village Association was concerned about the public liability of a temporary structure. In view of the difficulties of erecting two temporary stages the Montville Village Association agreed to support the construction of a covered verandah in front of St Mary’s Hall. Ian Rolle believed it would not encroach on the Village Green, but would enhance it and the verandah would strengthen and brace the hall. He felt that Diggers would be proud of it.66.
Ian Rolle moved that this meeting approves the proposed verandah extension to the Montville Memorial Hall – St Mary’s Church Hall and Community Centre – for which the Anglican Parish Council has obtained approval from the Maroochy Shire Council and the Minutes of the Montville Hall and Progress Association, 30 May 1994. 61. Chairman, St Mary’s Maintenance and Projects Co, Montville, 19 May 1994. Provided by Richard Dykes. Minutes of the Montville Hall and Progress Association, 25 July 1994. Minutes of the Montville Hall and Progress Association, 26 September 1994. Minutes of the Montville Hall and Progress Association, 28 November 1994. Minutes of the Montville Hall and Progress Association, 28 November 1994. Minutes of the Public Meeting on 27 February 1995 on the Proposed Verandah on St Mary’s Memorial Hall.
Chronology for St Mary’s Hall
27 September, Gazettal of land
5 March Overdraft of £10 arranged with ES & A Bank
First timber cut by Flaxton Sawmill. No Cost
April – building permit issued by Maroochy Shire
Lands Department surveyed site for building in June
28 June Building commenced under the control of RH Church with a working bee to erect stumps donated by F Phillips.
Overdraft of £150 from ES&A bank, Palmwoods
Trustees appointed & Committee formed
Building sufficiently completed to be used by Patriotic Committee during Carnival Day in October
January – official opening to be performed by Mr H Smith (club Patron). First meeting in hall held on 7 January.
Electricity installed in January
Painted for the first time in August
N Isaacs was appointed caretaker and held the position for 18 years
Post WWII Hall ceiling – white cedar was installed by working bee
Late 1950s Kitchen extension
July- Lining in back room installed by working bee. Timber was donated by C Blair. It was timber taken from an old Kanaka barracks built about 1910 on JC Dixon’s property at Flaxton
E Baker appointed caretaker
Raymond John Plowman, original Trustee, died
C Blair caretaker
Thomas Roy Copeland, original Trustee, died
Trevor Carter, original Trustee, died
Montville sub-branch closed and South East Branch of the RSSAILA took over control of the hall.
The RSL asked Montville Hall and Progress Association to take over the management of the RSL Hall. They refused as they felt management of two halls was too large a financial burden. A proposal was put to the Anglican church to take over the hall.
A Public Meeting held in Montville RSL on 29 November to call applications for the control of the hall. One application was received from St Mary’s Church of England who nominated three Trustees – Mr Richard Vivian Widenham Dykes (sub-warden); Mr Lawrence Smith and Mrs Marjory Doris Copeland. The Trustees were appointed. The hall was renamed the Montville Memorial Hall, St Mary’s Church Hall and Community Hall.
The RSL resolved to hand the hall over to the Church of England, Montville. Resolution passed at South Eastern District Conference on 25 and 26 February.
3 September 1978 Hand over ceremony held.
New Trustees gazetted and granted full decision making powers. Reserve R920 was cancelled and a new Reserve was created as a Reserve for Memorial (Church and Community Centre) purposes under their control as Trustee.
Paving and additional lattice work outside kitchen of St Mary’s Hall.
Controversial plans for building a new verandah on front of St Mary’s Hall or the alternative temporary structure. The new verandah was built and officially opened on 15 August 1995
Mr Alan Shannon appointed Trustee to replace Peter Smith.
Plaque commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Salvation Army’s association with Montville unveiled on side of hall on 20 December. Four new fluorescent lights installed in hall, ceiling repaired at cost of $400 and roof repaired for $400.
Alan and Jean Shannon paid for construction of a ramp.
A memorial plaque recognising the New Guinea campaign was donated by Alan and Jean Shannon. It was dedicated on Anzac Day by Father Bob Davidson. The switch box on the hall was replaced thanks to funds from the Shannons. Likely that exit signs installed at this time.
The door frame of the rear door was replaced and four weatherboards were replaced and painted
Picture rail built and walls varnished. Lighting installed
External painting to hall
Part of kitchen roof replaced because of damage caused by falling tree Alan Shannon died and was replaced as a Trustee by Andrew Walter
Large camphor laurel on the eastern side of hall and on the Razorback Road reserve was removed by Council
Concrete plinth constructed and drainage installed at front of hall.
Current appearance of the Hall, 2022
The key dates and alterations/changes to the St Mary’s Hall are outlined as follows;
1941- Construction (including entry porch and stairs)
1950s – kitchen wing added
1995 – verandah and stairs
2009 – apron slab and drainage added
The gabled roof over the main hall space is sheeted in asbestos fibrous cement roof sheeting (similar to customorb profile) which has been painted. The lean to skillion roof over the kitchen at the north end is sheeted in metal zincalume customorb profile sheeting. It is assumed that the asbestos roofing predates the kitchen skillion roof of the late 1950s.
The roof over the 1995 verandah extension is colorbond customorb roof sheeting.
Roof flashings are generally modern square profile (not gable roll)
Verandah roof detail, November 2009
View of south elevation showing gable end, November 2009
View showing junction in weatherboards of 1950s extension, November 2009
The gutters are of painted steel modern square profile to the upper gable roof and kitchen skillion roof. The gutter to the 1995 verandah extension is a modern quad profile gutters.
All gutters have metal leaf guards. Downpipes are a mixture of modern PVC plastic round and rectangular profile.
Fascias are timber of plain profile.
Eaves are unlined.
The gable ends to the North and South are sheeted in fibrous cement sheet (assumed asbestos) with decorative timber cover strips. The gable ends have been painted.
Walls are generally painted weatherboard. There is clear evidence in the weatherboards on the western elevation of the 1950s extension.
There are brackets located on the weatherboards on the south elevation used for mounting a banner.
View of east elevation showing rainwater goods and water tank, November 2009
View of northwest elevation showing fascias, November 2009
View of west verandah gable, November 2009
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View to southwest corner, November 2009
View of verandah, south elevation, November 2009
Stairs and concrete apron slab, November 2009
East elevation and disabled access ramp, November 2009
Typical casement windows, November 2009
The verandah on the west side of the hall was added in 1995 (replacing the original entry porch with gabled roof) and includes timber floor framing, shot edge decking, stop chamfered verandah posts, timber roof framing, timber verandah brackets, timber balustrade with ladies waist profile handrail and dowel type vertical balusters.
The verandah roof includes side vertical timber shaped batten infill and a gable over the entry on the centre line of the doors. The gable includes signage for the building.
There are stairs off the verandah to the west elevation as part of the 1995 works. These are modern timber treads on steel stringers.
The disabled access ramp is located at the rear of the building on the eastern elevation, was constructed in 1999 and provides equitable access to the building.
The windows are the original timber framed casements (3 glass panes per window leaf) arranged in pairs. The windows have been puttied and painted.
The windows do not have locks.
Doors are painted timber framed TG VJ doors. These appear to be the original doors but have been reswung to open out in accordance with fire requirements and have emergency hardware added.
The subfloor framing is timber bearers and joists with tie down bolts onto concrete block stumps.
Stumps and subfloor
The floor framing is supported on modern concrete block stumps (core filled). There are flat sheet ant caps located on the top of each stump. The original stumps were probably timber.
There is subfloor access from the elevated part of the building on the south. The northern end of the building comes close to the ground and does not allow for inspection. This area provides potential access for termites into the building.
Access to the subfloor area is a potential security risk for the building (ie arson).
Drainage, apron slabs and hard landscape
The stormwater drainage for the building connects to a water tank on the eastern side. A recent apron slab with grated drain below the stairs at the western side of the hall directs overland flow to the lower side of the building.
There is retaining and concrete pathways at the north and northeast corner of the building.
The elevated water tank on a timber tank stand is located to the rear of the hall on the eastern elevation. The date of this tank is not known.
The electrical board is located externally on the west verandah adjacent to the entry door inside a timber cabinet.
There is modern PVC plastic plumbing and drainage connecting into holding tanks.
West VJ doors, November 2009
Retaining and setdowns at northwest corner, November 2009
East elevation and water tank, November 2009
Memorial plaques, November 2009
Signage on west verandah gable, November 2009
There are modern external light fittings on the west elevation.
There are 4 memorial plaques mounted on the weatherboards on the western verandah mounted on timber blocks.
Modern signage is located in the western verandah roof gable, replacing earlier signage located in the former entry porch.
Further colour investigation could be undertaken to determine evidence of earlier colour schemes.
The internal spaces of the building include the main central room or hall space with a kitchen to the north connected by a door and servery opening.
There have been some alterations including the addition of servery opening, new linings, picture rail, cornice, new lighting and emergency exit signage.
The main hall ceiling has TG VJ linings (approximately 3 inches wide). The ceiling is clear finished (possibly oiled) and the timber species in unknown. The original hall ceiling was described as post WWII white cedar. Testing could be undertaken to verify the species of the TG VJ ceiling to determine if it is the early white cedar. There is a flush ceiling access panel in the north east corner.
The ceiling in the kitchen lean-to is also TG VJ linings (approximately 3 inches wide). These have been painted. A join in the ceiling suggests that the kitchen space was divided by a wall.
The main hall has TG VJ linings (approximately 2 inches wide). The boarding has been clear finished (varnished in 1988) and the timber species is unknown. The original wall linings are described as cedar. Testing could be undertaken to determine the species. The skirting appears to be older timber and profile. However the picture rail (2007) and cornice (which is a modern architrave profile – date unknown) are new.
There is an opening in the wall between the kitchen and the main hall space.
The kitchen has painted TG VJ linings (approximately 3 inches wide). A join in the wall (on both the north and south) suggests that the kitchen space was divided in two. The cornice is a combination of a 19 x 19 timber bead and a 42 x 12 timber bead.
The main hall has clear finished hardwood TG (approximately 3 inches wide) flooring in main body of hall. The kitchen area has vinyl over timber TG.
Further colour investigation could be undertaken to determine evidence of earlier colour schemes (in the kitchen area).
Interior of main hall space – view to northwest showing ceilings, November 2009
Interior – kitchen view showing evidence of former internal wall, November 2009
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View of fire doors, November 2009
View of internal door to kitchen, November 2009
Evidence of former ceiling rose, November 2009
Lighting track and fluoro lighting in main hall space, November 2009
Exposed wiring in main hall space, November 2009
The main hall is entered from the verandah on the west through a pair of timber framed TG VJ doors. These doors are fire doors, reswung to opening out and include emergency hardware. There are a similar pair of doors opening to the east to the disabled access ramp.
The door to the kitchen is a 3 panel door assumed to be part of the 1950s work. There is a single door leaf opening externally from the kitchen on the north. It is also a timber framed TG VJ doors.
All doors are painted.
The door hardware appears to be a combination of original and modern hardware.
The windows are all timber framed casement (3 pane per window leaf) arranged in pairs. They have a painted finish and hardware including whitspur and pull handles.
Lighting and electrical
The main hall space has modern track and fluorescent light fittings. There is evidence in the ceiling of two ceiling roses equally spaced which suggests that there may have been pendant lights. Electrical wiring is plastic with plastic switch plates. There is some exposed surface wiring in the hall.
Emergency exit signage has been introduced.
The kitchen has a double sink with drainage outlet through the north wall.
The roof framing was not inspected.
Fire extinguisher in kitchen, November 2009
Furniture and fittings
The St Mary’s Church Memorial Hall includes a number of items of loose and fixed furniture (built in cabinetry – kitchen, storage cupboards, chairs and tables) which do not form part of this study.
There are fire extinguishers located by the west doors in the main hall space and by the kitchen door. There are no smoke detectors or alarm system in the
Minutes School of Arts Sept 1937- 23 Feb 1959
Minutes School of Arts 8 June 1959 to 28 July 1975
Minutes of Montville Recreation and Sports Ground Committee 1 August 1928 to 1994
Montville School of Arts Accounts 1959 to 1986
Montville Hall and Progress Association Minutes 1975 to 1986
Montville Hall and Progress Association Minutes Feb 1982 to March 1986
Montville Village Association Minutes April 1986 to 2007
St Mary’s Auxiliary Minutes 1996-2007
RSL correspondence (copies held in DERM Heritage Register file 602616)
The Maroochy Churchman July 1925 – 27
Montville Methodist Church 1912-1972. Montville Methodist Church 1972.
Books and Articles
Articles on Maroochy District, Blackall Range. . . by Practical Men. Nambour: McFadden and Sons, Nambour Chronicle Printers, 1928?
Dingle, RSC (ed) Annals of Achievement: A review of Queensland Methodism 1847-1947. Brisbane: Queensland Book Depot, 1947. Haddow, Janine “Avenues of Honour” in Meanjin, Volume 47, No 3, Spring 1988. Inglis, K. Sacred Places: War Memorials on the Australian Landscape. Carlton, Vic.: Melbourne University Press, 2001.
Montville Memories, A Pictorial Journey. Montville Historical Group 1987.
Ramadge-Ross, Barbara, Montville State School 1896-1996: Centenary History. Montville State School, 1996.
Speake, JG. History of St Mary’s Anglican Church Montville. Undated manuscript. Woods, Ruth and Cook, Margaret. Yeronga Park Conservation Management Plan, City Design, Brisbane City Council 2003.