Eatonsville Hall

Visual artist Frances Belle Parker has been commissioned to work with Eatonsville Hall

 

Perched proudly on the hilltop in the centre of the village, the Eatonsville Hall is a reminder of the colourful history of this location and a hub for community members to get together for all reasons and seasons. Overlooking a peaceful but notorious section of the Clarence River to the east the hall also has colourful views of the setting sun over the Gibraltar ranges to the West.

The Eatonsville Hall was dedicated as the Mechanics Institute in June 1897 and in the years since has been used as a library, a place of worship and a school. It has seen many dances, dinners, markets, fundraisers, weddings, welcomes and farewells and has been the meeting place of progress associations, sporting clubs and church groups. As the only public place in the area (there are no hotels or shops), the hall has attracted folk from far and near and was the destination of many trips across the river until the Eatonsville Ferry ceased operation in 1957.

Eatonsville, or First Falls, was the first point upstream from the mouth of the Clarence River where the river could be crossed and the hall has witnessed many stories related to these river crossings, some tragic and some comedies of error.

It has also felt the pain of destruction, having been burnt down after a lightening strike in 1925 and blown down in 1957, with the flying roof landing on top of the schoolteachers prized cow. After each of these disasters the passion of the community for their hall saw it rapidly rebuilt stronger and better than before. The recently formed committee is seeing a revitalisation of activities in the hall as new energy moves into the area and the older residents come back to this wonderful building.

– Marty Williams