Monday, May 13, 2019

Lyndhurst Memorial Hall

Communities commemorated the Great War in various ways -  War Memorials, Avenues of Honour, Memorial Gates, Memorial Hospitals and Memorial Halls. This is an account of the Memorial Hall at Lyndhurst.

The South Bourke and Mornington Journal reported on April 25, 1912 the following - At the Cranbourne Council meeting on Saturday, 13th inst., a communication was received from eight residents of Lyndhurst making application for a piece of land as per plan forwarded, at the end
of Kirkham's lane, with a frontage to Lyndhurst road, for the purpose of erecting thereon a public hall. 

A year later the matter was back before the Council again as they were dealing with correspondence from the Lands Department regarding the site of the Hall and at the  May 1913 Cranbourne Shire Council meeting the following was reported -  From W. H. Peers, shire solicitor, forwarding copy of plan attached to title for allotment 24 and part of allotment 44, Lyndhurst, proposed site for public hall. On the motion of Crs Brunt and Gamble, secretary to write to owners of land re transfer of same. Lyndhurst Road is the same road as Dandenong-Hastings Road which is now called the Western Port Highway.

However, the Lyndhurst community had obviously been very confident obtaining  the land and  thus building a hall as in October 1912, they purchased a piano for the hall at the cost of  £40, a price which was considered a bargain according to the report in the South Bourke and Mornington Journal.

I cannot find any references to the Hall between 1913 and 1920 as presumably everything was put on hold due to the First World War, but from 1920 there were reports of fundraising activities for what was now called the Lyndhurst Memorial Hall. I also cannot find an exact opening date and the earliest report that I could find that the hall was completed, was this one, below, from the Koo Wee Rup Sun of April 7, 1921

Koo Wee Rup Sun April 7, 1921 - report of Cranbourne Shire Council meeting held April 2, 1921.

In the Dandenong Journal of March 21, 1935, the following was reported - The Lyndhurst Memorial Hall was erected in 1922 to do honor to the late Lieut. M. Kirkham and Driver C. Payne, who paid the supreme sacrifice in the Great War. Apart from the date being incorrect this is interesting as it is the first mention in the newspapers of the fact that the hall was a memorial to the two men and not all the men who had served from the area, which was more common. I have found twenty one men with a connection to Lyndhurst, who enlisted, you can read about them, here.

This is more detail on Lieutenant Kirkham and Driver Payne - 
Kirkham, Malcolm (Service Number 913)  Malcolm was 29, and a farmer from Lyndhurst, when he enlisted on June 8, 1915. His next of kin was his mother, Margaret. Lieutenant Kirkham was Killed in Action in France on September 2, 1918. Malcolm is listed on the Cranbourne Presbyterian Church Honour Roll.

Payne, Charles Lyndhurst (Service Number 4801) Charles Lyndhurst Payne was born in Lyndhurst, and presumably named after his place of birth. He was 21 when he enlisted on April 1, 1916 and his guardian was listed as Mrs Margaret Greaves of Picnic Park, Lyndhurst.   He Died of Wounds received whilst fighting in France on April 26, 1918. Margaret Greaves (1842-1921) was married to William Greaves and was the daughter of Stephen and Alice Payne, so I presume that Charles was her nephew. (Family information from 100 years in Skye: 1850-1950 by Dot Morrison)

The Hall was the centre of social life in Lyndhurst - it was a very active community and many fundraising functions were held - mainly balls. In 1935 it was reported In the month of October, it is estimated that approximately £50 has been raised for church, charitable and local objects, as the result of efforts in the Lyndhurst Memorial Hall (Dandenong Journal November 7, 1935) They also held many functions during the Second World War to raise funds for the Red Cross. I have created a list of articles on Trove on the Lyndhurst Memorial Hall, which you can access here, and so you can read for yourself the many and varied social activities that the Hall hosted. 

However, sadly these events came to an end on the night of January 25, 1944 when the hall was destroyed by fire. The Dandenong Journal of January 26 reported the fire  the Lyndhurst Memorial Hall, which possessed one of the best dance floors in the district, was completely destroyed by fire early yesterday morning. Built in 1921 by the residents of the district as a memorial to Lieut. M. Kirkham and Dvr. C. Payne, the hall cost over £700 then and its value was increased to over £1000 by subsequent additions. It was well appointed and was one of the most popular social centres in the district. The night previous to the fire, a successful function had been held in the hall, and it is surmised that the blaze started from a smouldering cigarette butt.  This was a bit ironic as The Dandenong Journal of September 27, 1934 reported that the Lyndhurst Memorial Hall Social Committee meeting was held on Friday....... Objections were raised to  so much smoking being allowed in the hall, and after discussion it was decided to prohibit smoking in the main hall and kitchen; notices to be put up to that effect. 

The Lyndhurst Social Club still continued to hold functions at other halls, such as Cranbourne and Hampton Park. A public meeting was held in May 1946 where it was decided to build the new hall in brick and they had raised over £1000 for the rebuilding. In 1952, the Lyndhurst Progress Association wrote to the Cranbourne Shire for permission to erect a new hall. But the new Hall was never built and I don't know why. It certainly wasn't for lack of community spirit. I do not have  a photo of the Memorial Hall, so if you have one in your possession I would be interested in seeing them.

A new memorial was unveiled in Lyndhurst on Remembrance Day, November 11, 2017 - it lists just eight soldiers - two from the Great War and six from the Second World War - 
Lieutenant Malcolm Kirkham 
Driver Charles Lyndhurst Payne 
Lieutenant Ivor Kenneth Allison 
Private Allen John Brereton 
Private Raymond George Brereton 
Sergeant James Murray Thomson 
Flying Officer Eric Hurlstone Renfree 
Private Thomas Alfred Wear 

The Memorial was funded by the City of Casey and the money that had been collected to rebuild the Lyndhurst Memorial Hall and kept in Trust for over sixty years was also used. Casey Cardinia Remembers website, has a photograph and some information on this new memorial - see here.

I have created a list of articles on Trove on the Lyndhurst Memorial Hall, which you can access here

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