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Woodville School of Arts has been at the heart of our community life since 1877. Throughout its long history, the hall has been owned, maintained and managed by local volunteers as a non-profit organisation. Our pride in it symbolises our respect for our community, for our history and for the friendly and peaceful place where we live.
Its home is a quaint timber meeting hall that has served many purposes in all that time – as a venue for weddings and dances; for parties, wakes, voting and educational talks; for meetings, rallies, performances; and for children’s lessons and play; it has been a flood refuge and is also a war memorial.
Its origins go back to at least 1870, to weekly meetings of a local Mutual Improvement Society, for “debates, readings and recitations”.
At a special meeting on 29 September, 1876, the society changed its name to the Woodville School of Arts and decided to erect a wooden building on land offered by the society’s President, John Pearse. The frame was completed by builders on 1 February 1877 and members completed the work.
That building served for 45 years until the present building replaced it, on land bought with funds raised by the School of Arts members and committee.
It was officially opened by Mrs J.F. Munday on Thursday, 9 August 1923: “The function took the form of a social, with tea and dance, the music being supplied by Gilligan’s orchestra.” Ceilings and lining were completed later by members and volunteers, and electricity was connected in 1931.
The building has always had a close association with the Iona Public School next door and still regularly serves as a hall for special lessons, rehearsals and events.