HISTORY OF OUR HALL
Brown Coal Mine Public Hall
The building was removed during the 1950’s after Monash Hall became the town’s new public hall.
The town’s original recreation place was located within the old boundaries of the Brown Coal Mine townhship. It started life as a marquee, and residents could also use a small building that was previously part of Bevis’ Boarding House next to the old tennis courts for dancing and gatherings.
In the 1920’s a building was built from scratch at the opposite end of the Reserve Street oval, near where the pool is today. It had been used as a picture theatre, as well as change rooms for the cricket and footy clubs for a period of time. It was used by the school for school concerts, right up until it closed in the 1950’s.
This hall was later moved to a property between Cowwarr and Toongabbie by the SECV, much to the disgust of residents given locals had built it. Remnants of it still exist there today as a farm building.
After the big slip of 1950, the need for a place for the displaced businesses emerged. A Nissen Hut was sourced and brought to Yallourn North in pieces on trucks, and erected on the current hall site in Reserve Street.
Meadows bakery had the northern end, and the foundation for the baking ovens still exists under the stage to this day. Purvis’ store, Dobinson’s Drapery, as well as a hairdresser also moved in. As they built their new stores in other parts of town, they one by one moved out of the hall.
The hall later spent life as a movie theatre with the opening movie being The Benny Goodman Story, but this was short lived given television had arrived around that time.
Over the years the hall has taken on many shapes. Toilets were added early, and then the western (brick) wing was added in the 60’s. An eastern wing was added also which included the kitchen, and this has now been upgraded and extended to encompass the sporting clubs.
The hall has been used for many functions and birthday parties over the decades, as well as school plays and carols by candlelight. It is now home to the Moartz theatre group who exhibit an annual performance.
During the 1990’s it was commonly used for indoor basket ball. It wasn’t uncommon to see a fluorescent light bulb to come crashing down before they put up wire shields to protect them.
The hall received a facelift and new kitchen around this time, but this upgrade was sparse and mainly cosmetic. The brickwork was rendered outside and the installation of decorative window surrounds were also installed, as well as a welcoming entrance.
More recently the hall just received a $660,000 grant to merge all the sporting clubs into the one building. The kitchen again received a modern upgrade with the installation of a bar as well to serve the sporting clubs.
What is not well known within the community is that there is no record of the hall ever officially being called ‘Monash Hall’ (after Sir John Monash, a former Chairman of the SEC).
It did lose this title briefly in 1963 and was replaced with ‘Yallourn North Public Hall’. Some say the building had become run down and the SEC didn’t want a derelict building named after such a great man. However, the Monash Hall signage mysteriously reappeared, and has been affectionately known as Monash Hall ever since.
For more detail on local history contact The Old Brown Coal Mine Museum
With assistance from The Old Brown Coal Mine – Kath Ringin – ISBN 0 9588501 0 0