I write this column having just returned from officiating at the opening of the refurbished Exeter Hall.
Exeter Hall is one of our shire’s most picturesque community halls and one of our richest in terms of history and heritage.
It was built in 1902 at a cost of £630. The original plans of the Edwardian-era hall featured a much grander building that incorporated a large and small hall, library and offices. Unfortunately, a lack of funds meant only the small hall was completed.
The size of the hall never deterred locals and its played an integral role in its 115 year history hosting countless dances, concerts, socials and family get-togethers for the village.
After more than a century of service the hall was in need of a make-over. Upgrading a grand old building like Exeter Hall was always going to be a team effort. This week’s opening is the result of nearly 15 years of consultation and negotiation!
Mentioning everyone involved would be near impossible. It would, however, be remiss of me not to make particular mention of the Exeter Park Management Committee and the Exeter Village Association for their resolute determination and passion.
It’s because of their vision, and that of the architect, builder and a large number of council staff, that Exeter Hall now boasts upgraded facilities and amenities worth more than $1.3 million.
Importantly, our team remained as faithful as possible to those incomplete designs from over a century ago.
The result is a refurbished community hall that features a new commercial kitchen and hall space, internal toilets, external public toilets and sports change rooms.
Also included in the upgrade is a new audio system, funded in part by a $10,000 grant from the Veolia Mulwaree Trust.
A new car park has been incorporated as part of the renovations and financed via council’s special rate variation.
As I mentioned at the conclusion of the morning’s unveiling: I would like to think the townsfolk from 1902 would be delighted to see their lovely old hall has many more years of serving the people of Exeter left in her.