Grant will give 101 year old memorial hall a lift

The historic Wamberal Hall is set for some striking additions thanks to a $6,700 grant from the Federal Government’s Saluting their Service funding program.

Officially designated as a war memorial, the hall was built following World War I to commemorate lives lost during the Great War.

It was opened on January 1, 1920, by parliamentarian and King’s Counsel, EJ Loxton.

Terrigal-Wamberal RSL Sub-Branch Vice President, Peter White, said the funds would be used for some long called for modifications.

“There are a few honour rolls inside the hall indicating people from the district who served, but not much else,” White said.

“One of the things we do have is three sandstone blocks, which have the names of service personnel engraved on them.

“For a time we thought they were lost, only to discover they had been at the property of a neighbour for safekeeping.

“When we became aware of that, we decided we would like to display them more prominently.

“They will be mounted into some form of concrete memorial and placed at the rear of the hall, with a bench facing them, as a more formal memorial.

“Mounting them in concrete will make sure they don’t weather away and we will also be putting some form of protective coating on them.”

White said the money would also be used to install a metal honour board which will tell the story of the stones and of the hall itself.

“Hopefully when people use the hall they’ll know a little bit more about its history,” he said.

“Building a memorial hall was a common thing for communities to do post World War I to recognise how they had been affected.”

With the hall having celebrated its 100th anniversary last year, White said improvements were timely and he hoped they would be completed some time early next year.

“We had applied earlier for funding under a different program to get the work done but were refused so this grant is very welcome,” he said.

Member for Robertson, Lucy Wicks, said the Coast was proud of its military history, its local veterans and the families who had supported them.

“It’s important that the service and sacrifice of our local veterans is recognised and remembered through these community initiatives,” she said.

Wicks said the Umina Community Group had also received a $5,112 grant to install interpretive signage at Runway Park in Woy Woy to explain the history of the area as an emergency aerodrome during the Second World War.

Terry Collins