It was a dance hall, a boxing ring, a table tennis venue and a much-valued community meeting space.
Alex Fry had always wondered about the Bradfordville community hall as he drove past but never thought he might own it one day.
But he and wife Anne successfully bid for the concrete and weatherboard structure at 87 Queen Street on Saturday. They beat off one other bidder to buy the 1012 square metre site for $250,000.
The couple were visibly relieved afterward.
“I’m happy with that,” Mr Fry said.
“I had seen the hall before and always thought it was cute but didn’t know its significance. When I saw it up for sale and the suggestion that it could be demolished, I thought that was terrible.”
The Frys intend to tidy up the site, attend to the hall’s structural integrity, reinstate a kitchen and eventually re-open it as a hall.
“We can help out community groups because it’s hard to get venues at a reasonable rate,” Mrs Fry said.
The hall has been managed by a trust for many years. Member of the Bradfordville Community Committee Brian Cave said the group had sought permission from solicitors and the Department of Fair Trading to sell the site, given that they were an incorporated body.
A key condition is that sale proceeds must go to community charities. Mr Cave said the committee would soon distribute these funds, with an announcement after dispersal. The kitchen has already been donated to the Tarago Men’s Shed.
Mr Cave and wife Annette, who have been trustees for 27 years, have had a long association with the hall, as has the Bradfordville community.
He believed the facility was built in the early 1930s during the depression by Kenmore Hospital tradesmen. The land was donated by a Mr Thoroughgood, who lived nearby on Taralga Road.
“It was a dance hall and was especially used during the war years to boost morale,” Mr Cave said.
It was also used as a boxing ring by legendary local trainer, Billy Mitchell, under whom the late Allan ‘Jockey’ Rudd trained.
It’s also been a meeting place for the community, including the Bradfordville Youth Club, and used for gymnastics and more recently, table tennis.
“(The auction) is a sad for me but it’s just not viable to keep it,” Mr Cave said.
“It will cost something like $100,000 to do up and we’ll never get that money back, (plus) it is not being used.”
Mrs Cave said the committee had held sausage sizzles and fundraisers just to pay the insurance and rates.
Bradfordville resident Howard Bye attended the auction out of interest.
“It’s sad to see it go but I understand it costs a lot to maintain and if it’s not being used, there’s no revenue to do that,” he said.
Agent Carol James said she had fielded interest from mainly out of town investors looking to demolish the building and construct duplexes. The land is zoned low-density residential.
An old ‘faithfull’
Meantime, an EC Manfred designed home at 215 Faithfull Street was passed in on the vendor’s $850,000 bid at auction on Saturday.
Manfred designed the Victorian home, named ‘Hazelbrook,’ in 1885 for Thomas and Alice Martyn, according to research supplied to real estate agency, Tronn Alstergren. It was built by James Armstrong.
The 297 square metre house, sitting on a large 2024 sqm block, contains a lounge room, sitting and dining rooms, four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a cellar now closed off beneath the kitchen, rear sun room and a large garden. Original features such as high ceilings and decorative cornices remain.
Well known retired dentist Doug MacCulloch and wife Betty are selling the home.
Their son Robert told The Post his parents had lived there for 60 years, most of their married life. They raised four boys in the house, including John, Ian and Tony.
“It was a fantastic family home. As children we played football and cricket down the back, which was something Mum didn’t always appreciate with a ball flying around,” he said.
Mr MacCulloch hoped the property would go to a good gardener, continuing his parents’ pride and joy.
Tronn Alstergren licensee in charge, Helen Cheetham said she was now negotiating with several parties who were unable to attend the auction. The house is on the market for $920,000.