Sunday, 21 October 2018

Haddows Dance Hall - a cultural heritage icon from 1936.

Haddows Hall adjacent to the cafe and shop establishment owned and operated by Haddows. Past Haddows Cafe can be seen, on the corner of the Esplanade and Queen's Road, a single storey building which was removed in 1954 to make way for the two story Pacific Palais which had a dance hall at first level. Across Queen's Road was the Scarborough Hotel, now replaced by the Beach House Hotel. Next door to the Hotel was the Central Theatre Cinema (Source FCRC Heritage Register). (Image courtesy Mr John Andersen)

Fraser Coast Regional Council Heritage Register has information for the listing for Haddows Hall.It contains the following Historical Information provided by John Andersen.

Haddows Dance Hall, on the Esplanade at Scarness, was built in 1936.A dining area fronting the Esplanade formed part of the original development.Usage of the building as a dance hall ceased after the Second World War.The building has had wide and varied use during its existence and has a place of social prominence for the people of the Fraser Coast.The varied uses over the years include:
  • Boxing matches every Boxing Day for many years. 
  • Travelling shows.
  • Wilf Robertson, then manager of 4MB radio (Maryborough) held record hops during the 1960s.
  • During a couple of cyclones, it became an emergency crisis centre, with campers from across the Esplanade using the hall for shelter.
  • School concerts 
  • Election polling booths were set up for Local Authority, State and Federal elections.
  • Maryborough bank branch outlets, visiting on a weekly basis.
  • A real estate agency with fortnightly auctions.
Haddows Hall 1930s (Source: Haddows/Andersen private collection)
The Haddows had been, prior to the time time of the hall construction, Maryborough residents.They had operated a motor car dealership and bicycle manufacturing business in Maryborough, in the 1920s when son George Junior was diagnosed with chronic asthma.The family doctor recommended a change of climate, so the family moved to Hervey Bay.The Haddows managed a cafe on the Esplanade at Scarness in the 1920s. Mr Haddow built the new hall and front dining room in 1936 for the cost of seven hundred and fifty pounds.The new hall was a popular venue for local residents.The dining area at the front of the building was initially serviced by the Haddows adjacent cafe, until it was decided to convert the dining room into a cafe in its own right.Many dances were held in the hall, and these were enjoyed by men and women of the armed services and local residents during World War Two.Among those attending one of the war time dances was a young Royal Navy officer, Prince Philip of Greece who later became the HRH the Duke of Edinburgh.
Haddows Hall and Shops in Scarness c 1940s (Source: Haddows/Andersen private collection)
At the time Haddows Dance Hall was built, few large venues were available at the Bay. After the war, the hall continued to be operated by the Haddows.Their daughter Joyce and her husband Jack Andersen took over the management of the business in 1947, Joyce and Jack converted the front part of the building into a delicatessen and cake shop.
Haddows Hall Concert
This usage later evolved into a milk bar, fish, chip and burger shop.The front part of the building then became a fruit shop.
In 1954 the Pacific Palais was built and had a large dance hall on the second floor resulting in dancing at Haddows Hall ceasing.The hall was soon established as a Fun Parlour with old penny arcade machines from Sydney's Luna Park. Later slot car tracks were laid down.This was a popular local activity.
Slot Cars Haddows Hall c 1970 (Source:Haddows/Andersen private collection)
A mini golf course was built at the back part of the hall.The fun parlour usage continued till Easter 1996. The building converted to a second hand furniture outlet and closed in 2007.

Do you remember Haddows Hall?
What did you do when you were there?

Published with consent from John Andersen.
Historical Information provided by Mr John Andersen, grandson of Mr George Henry Haddow as part of the Fraser Coast Regional Council Heritage Register Place ID 110 Architects Report prepared by Gavin Patterson, 2012. 

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