This week Berowra Living History reflects on a building which was once central to the community. The Berowra Hall would this year be celebrating its 100th anniversary, were it still standing. David Lever, who has recreated the lost hall in two of his beautiful paintings tells a little of the story of the hall.
BEROWRA HALL 1914 to 1929.It is difficult to imagine that during the years 1914 to 1929 a thriving centre of social and cultural activity existed on the site of what is now 27 Berowra Waters Road. This was the site of the first Berowra Hall.The hall was completely destroyed by fire at about 10 am on Saturday , Christmas Eve 1929. The building, constructed of a timber frame, weather boards and a highly waxed floor burnt very quickly and was impossible to save.The last activity held in the hall the night before was a card game played by local residents.The construction of the hall was financed by Berowra residents who purchased shares for ten pounds each. Share certificates were issued and Hall events were managed by a Board of Directors. The managers were Charlie Woof, George Huett and Jack Foster.A minor matter of interest is the paving of a footpath outside the hall. The Berowra Progress Association argued that the extensive drop from the path to the gutter presented a danger to the Councils President and other Councillors when visiting the hall. The resulting small section of footpath resulted in the first section and for many years the only section of paving in Berowra.To date only two photos of the hall have emerged and both show the building in an advanced stage of destruction by the fire.Curious to know what the building might have looked like, I was luckily able to obtain enough information from those two photos to paint two images. I believe these two paintings represent the building with a reasonable degree of accuracy.Berowra Hall was regularly used during its lifetime. It hosted a wide range of activities and they included: an annual dancing season commencing in March, fetes, roller skating annual balls, wedding breakfasts, silent movies and farewells to departing soldiers as well as returning soldiers during World War 1.I chose two of those many events to represent in the paintings. Information about both events came from The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate which was based in Parramatta.
Come back next week to find out more about these events and the paintings which recreate them!