Potted Histories

Yarloop Town Halls

By Heather Wade, 2021.

The First Town Hall – opposite the War Memorial

The first Town Hall which was a wooden structure was built by Millars in late 1897[1] and was also referred to as Millars’ Hall.  The War Memorial was built opposite in 1922. The Yarloop Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade station now occupies the former Hall site. As it was the first public building in Yarloop it was used for many events including church services by the different religious denominations before they built their own churches.  There was also a Library, initially within the Hall and later in a separate building at the back. The Hospital Balls, the social highlight of the year, were held there as were the picture shows. After the Yarloop Town Hall was opened in Station Street in 1938, the old Town Hall was used by a little athletics club and during WW2 as the headquarters for the Yarloop Voluntary Defence Corps (VDC).[2]

When the Hall was no longer required it was sold to Hutton Hall, one of Millars’ office staff. It was demolished circa 1948[3] and rebuilt as a holiday home at a nearby seaside town.[4]

The first Town Hall, indicated above, was situated opposite the War Memorial. Photo: Yarloop Workshops Collection.

A ticket for a local dramatic production in the first Town Hall.

The Second Town Hall – on Station Street

The Yarloop Town Hall on Station Street was designed by the firm Cameron Powell and Chisolm for the Harvey Road Board.[5] Previously on the site there had been a Blacksmith’s shop where the builder of the Hall, Charlie Storer, had learnt his trade. Sir James Mitchell, the Lieutenant-Governor, officially opened the Hall on Saturday 2 April 1938. The occasion was celebrated with an afternoon tea, a dinner for VIPs and a ball in the evening attended by 500 people.

Yarloop Town Hall, opened in 1938, was built on Station Street. Photo: HHO Collection. 

The building had a brick façade with Art Deco style entrances. Behind the façade, the building was timber framed with jarrah weatherboard cladding. The main hall had a lobby, men’s and women’s cloak rooms, a ticket window and a cinema box over the lobby. At the rear was a stage with dressing rooms on each side. Along the inside wall was a recess to accommodate musicians. Adjoining the main hall on the southern side was the Supper Room with a kitchen at the back.

 Architectural Drawings for the Yarloop Town Hall.[6]

Drawings showing the Supper Room and Hall.[7]

Opaline Scenic Ware was in fashion in the late 1930s when recognisable buildings and scenes were used as the decorative feature on china plates, milk jugs, etc. It is presumed that this milk jug was produced for the opening of the Yarloop Town Hall.

Opaline Scenic Ware decorated with the Yarloop Town Hall. Photo: Maree Ellis.

The Hall was used for many events and occasions including dances, meetings, drama presentations, wedding receptions, celebrations, school activities, badminton and showing movies.

Library at the Yarloop Town Hall

In 1953 the Library, which was a separate building at the back of the old Town Hall,[8] was shifted by the Harvey Road Board to the grounds of the Yarloop Town Hall and refurbished. It opened in early 1954[9] and served as a Library there until 1987 when the Community Library at the School was built. No longer required, it was moved to the Workshops Complex and became the display Library.

The white building between the Station Master’s house on the left and the Hall on the right was the town Library between 1954 and 1987.

Yarloop Community Centre

During the 2016 Bushfires, the Hall was severely damaged with only the façade and the fireplace remaining. In consultation with the Yarloop Community, the Shire of Harvey built a Community Centre on the site and retained both features. The Yarloop Community Centre was opened on 22 November 2019 by the WA Premier, Hon. Mark McGowan and the occasion was celebrated with a morning tea. The Yarloop Resource Centre is the anchor tenant for the multi-purpose building set to become an important social centre for the town.

The Yarloop Community Centre was officially opened 22 November 2019.


[1] Southern Times, 14 December 1897.

[2] Geoff Fortune, Yarloop there was no better place, the history of a timber town, p. 82.

[3] Conversation with Bill Johnson, 2019.

[4] Geoff Fortune, Yarloop there was no better place, p. 83.

[5] It was the third Town Hall the firm had designed for the Harvey Road Board, the others were Harvey Town Hall and Board Offices in 1935 and Brunswick Town Hall in 1936.

[6] State Records Office of WA, AU WA S1457-cons 5094 0531.

[7] State Records Office of WA, AU WA S1457-cons 5094 0531.

[8] It had been the original Post Office.

[9] South Western Advertiser, 25 March 1954.