The Protestant Hall
Tuesday, 29th May, 2018
By Paul Armstrong
THE land was obtained by the Protestant Hall Company from the Police Sub-Inspector Saunders for 274 pounds, for the building of a Protestant Hall.
The Foundation Stone at a cost of 35 pounds was laid by Grand Master Brother John Wheeler who was head of the order from Sydney on the 20th June, 1903.
The hall was opened at 3pm on the 13th of September 1903 at a cost of 3,000 pounds.
A parade of 500 people walked to the hall where many hundreds were waiting and it was standing room only in the grand hall.
Grand Master Brother Mills occupied the chair as Grand Master Johns of South Australia declared the hall open.
It was an impressive event as representatives of five male and three ladies’ lodges attended. They were part of the over 1,200 members in Broken Hill in 1903.
The building was an impressive one: 82 feet by 40 feet and a height of 22 feet and two-storey high with wonderful masonry features and a huge hall that seated 800 people.
Only a few days later the Salvation Army held their “annual tea” in the hall and other groups and the Orange Lodge (formed in 1888) held meetings and social gatherings.
Although some work was still needed it was a very popular venue straight away and a very imposing structure in Beryl Street, not far from Bromide Street.
After four years of interior work to a high degree of finish, it was opened in 1907 as a completed Grand Hall, billiard room and offices, with a magnificent grand piano in the hall.
That year the first wedding was performed in the hall, it was that of Mr and Mrs Sawtell who returned two decades later and visited the hall.
In October of 1918, Sergeant R. R. Inwood VC was applauded and welcomed by hundreds of Returned Soldiers and toasted at a civic celebration in the Protestant Hall.
His valour was saluted by all attending. He left B.H. with mixed feelings.
By the mid-1920s to 30s, the hall is for hire and the offices and rooms are offered for use to all kinds of organisations.
A number of Protestant or Orange Lodge meetings were being held at the Druid’s Hall in Blende Street (now YWCA).
It appears the Mine Managers Association are now in control of the building.
March 1946, the St John Ambulance Medical Instructions were held in the hall, their headquarters were in the rear of the building, they also did home nursing and child welfare classes.
July 1946, the Medical Bureau and the Joint Compensation Committee held offices and rooms in the hall. Later the medical rooms were enlarged and an X-Ray machine added to their services.
In the 1950s, the B.H. Mine Employees’ Pension fund had rooms in the hall for a period and ran an office with staff into the mid-1950s.
Sadly, this beautiful building was demolished many years ago and became part of the land near the corner of Beryl and Bromide streets, where Essential Energy car park and rear offices now stands.