On Friday evening the official opening of the new Roelands Hall was celebrated by a splendid grand ball, many car loads arriving from Bunbury and the surrounding district. Everything had an air of festivity, the hall being gaily decorated with streamers and beautiful palms. A good orchestra was in attendance and the supper, which was elaborately set out, was of a kind so seldom seen except at country entertainments where the best of everything can be obtained and in abundance as well. The tables were decorated with vases of sweet peas running the full length of the tables. During the evening musical items were rendered by Mrs. Hedges, Mr R. Coles and Mrs. Woodley while Mr. Shine delighted those present by performing a most intricate step dance. The ball was kept up to an early hour and it was with reluctance that the many guests adjourned to their homes. Much credit is due for the success of the evening to Mr. and Mrs. H. Kersten, Mr. Kersten being the secretary of the Roelands Progress Association and also to his splendid band of helpers.
Roelands Hall and war memorial (right). Courtesy Wendy Dickinson. Date unknown.
During the proceedings Mr. Castieau called upon Mr. W. J. George, M.L.A., to declare the hall open. Mr. Castieau remarked that while calling upon Mr. George he would first like to state that although Roelands was not really on the map now, they intended it to be in the future. In the past they had not been quite as fairly treated as they might have been, owing, no doubt, to party politics, but from now they were determined to make an honest endeavour to be placed on the map. He had been accused of having a road up to his property, and thought that there should also be a railway line and a water scheme running that way too. He was prepared to put up £20 against Mr. Reading or anyone who could prove that there were not sufficient possibilities to warrant these things. He also welcomed home Mr. and Mrs. S. L. Rose who had been away on a trip to England.
Mr. W. J. George said that it was not very often that he was puzzled as to what to say when called upon to speak publicly but he was in doubt now. Mr. Castieau did not know everything and neither did W. J. George! He personally knew of a map 100 years old with Roelands marked on it, only under another name. He was one of the original legatees. On this map there was a beautiful town planned, showing magnificent buildings, etc. He was very pleased not only as a politician but a ratepayer to be present and see the new hall. The way to keep the young men on the farms was to give them a hall were they could congregate and meet their boy and girl friends and perhaps on Sunday hold service. This sort of thing tended to smooth off the rough edges which people were liable to get when they had their noses to the grindstone continuously; and if girls were to be kept on the farms to make good farmers’ wives, they must be given a little pleasure. He congratulated them on having a beautiful hall. ‘Too small’, called out a voice, ‘So was I, 70 years ago, but I’ve grown’, replied Mr. George (laughter). He once again said what great pleasure it gave him to announce the hall was open.
Hon. E. Rose said he was really a very old resident of the district and he was delighted to see they now had a hall. He had lived at Roelands during the 60s so that he was really one of their oldest residents, though he had left there some years ago. There had been talk then of building a hall and now they had built it and had done so at a very convenient point. The district was capable of carrying many more people than it was doing at present, but that would be brought about by irrigation. The area had been surveyed during Mr. George’s time but nothing had come of it. If the Collie Power Scheme became an accomplished fact, it would mean a wonderful thing to Bunbury and the surrounding districts, it would mean the opening up of secondary industries. He thanked them for the opportunity of speaking.
Mr. F. Withers, M.L.A., said he was going through Roelands a short time ago and saw the hall being built; he thought that it must be a shed as he did not think Roelands could run to a hall and he thought that they should be congratulated on having such a splendid building. Mr. George and Mr. Rose had both touched upon the possibilities of the district, and a little while ago he had had the opportunity of going up the river a few miles and he was surprised to see the beautiful valleys; one had no idea what one’s country possessed by simply living in the towns. The development of the S. W. was going to be the making of the State. He hoped they would be hiring the hall for political purposes at a later date. If they wished to enlarge the building all they had to do was to knock the back out and build on.
Mr. Becher, of the Harvey Road Board, said he was very pleased that he had been asked to speak. He knew he was not particularly popular with everyone. The people of Roelands should be proud of their fine hall which showed that Roelands intended to be placed on the map. With regard to the road, if he had known it was so bad he would probably have come by train. (laughter) The Harvey Road Board was not a particularly wealthy one and they did not receive much from this particular portion of the Board, but they tried to do their best.
Mr. Castieau said that he would like to thank Messrs. Bunning and Coles for the way they had helped them with the building of the hall. He also wished to thank Mr. Kersten for his most valuable work, the land had been given by a lady new to the district who did not desire her name to be published. He finally wished to thank all those who had come so far and everyone who had helped to make the evening a success.
Those present included: Mr. & Mrs. Johnstone (Singapore), Miss C. Castieau, Miss K. Castieau, Misses E. & R. Rose (Bunbury), Miss N. Hanrahan (Collie), Hon. E. & Mrs. Rose (Bunbury), Mrs. C. Clifton, Mr. B. Joel, Mr. Whatley, Mr. & Mrs. W. A. Rose, Mr. & Mrs. Parry Rose, Mr. Clarke, Mr. & Mrs. R.A. Clarke, Mr. & Mrs. Clarke, Miss Mead (Brunswick), Mr. &. Mrs. H. Gardiner, Miss Miller (Brunswick), Mr. & Mrs. J. Castieau, Mrs. Ferris, Miss N. & M. Kane, Mr. & Mrs. T. H. Rose, Miss R. Hill (Brunswick), Miss K. Shine, Miss Pugh (Burekup), Mr. & Mrs. J. Poller, Mr. & Mrs. B. S. Gibbs, Mrs C. Woodley, Mrs. Cliff Woodley, Mrs. J. Gibbs, Miss Gordon, Mr. & Mrs. J. Shine, Mr. & Mrs. H. Kersten. Mrs. Grapes, Miss Grapes, Mrs. Kane, Mr. & Mrs. Waterson, Miss C. Hill, Mrs. Cox, Mr. & Mrs. W. B. Castieau, Miss Price (Bunbury), Miss Shier (Bunbury), Mr. F. George (Olive Hill), Mr. A. Perrin, Mr. J. Pidgeon, Mr. P. Coles (Bunbury), Miss Clifton, Mrs. Clifton (Brunswick), Messrs. N. & B. Castieau, Mr. L. Stone, Mr. H. Ramsay (Burekup), Mr. J. Hill (Brunswick), Mr. Harvey (Bunbury) Mr. G. Clarke (Brunswick), Miss N. B. Serjeant (Bunbury), Mr. R. Buckenarra, Mr. F. Slee, Mr. E. Johnston, Mr. Osborne, and Miss L. Trott, all of Bunbury Mr. & Mrs. Hedges, Mr. Withers (Bunbury), Mr. & Mrs. Brandli, Miss Offer (Burekup), Mr. V. Donaldson and Mr. Les Clarke (Bunbury), Mr. & Mrs. J. Castieau, Mr. Becher, Mr. Boland, Mr. A. Warburton, Messrs. J. Gardiner, Styants, J. Higgins, A. Gibbs, C. Cox, H. Gardiner, Mrs. Cullen, Mr. & Mrs. T. Rose, Mr J. May. Messrs. C. Colton, M. Gardiner, E. Blight, S. Hayward, W. A. Rose, Day, Dr. & Mrs. O’Mara.
(Bunbury Herald and Blackwood Express, 20 Oct 1925, p. 3)
More recent photo of Roelands Hall, showing hall and war memorial. Courtesy Wendy Dickinson.