Thursday, September 26, 2013

And the Ceres hall sold for a dollar?

from w

From the Advertiser about Ceres and the good folks there want to sell their hall for $1 to City Hall.
IN the late 1850s, the rural settlement of Ceres was awash with alcohol.
Locals had the choice of three boisterous inns, while a proliferation of vineyards would cement the area's reputation as the wine-producing capital of the colony.
But a small group of settlers were not impressed that the undulating hills above Geelong was gripped by a rollicking drinking culture.
Rejecting the lifestyle, the Barrabool Hills Total Abstinence Society built the Ceres Temperance Hall - a refuge from drunkenness where alcohol was not allowed through the doors.
Local stonemason Nicholas McCann, a foundation member of the society, donated the land and helped construct the substantial sandstone hall.
Completed in 1862, the building was acquired by the Barrabool Hills Blue Ribbon Society in 1883.


"Fabulous news. Well done to the Ceres residents. Denis and Elaine; have attended many of your theatrical endeavours and enjoyed them all. What a wonderful showing of community pride that you have shown in volunteering to co-manage the hall. "
Usually Positive.
The site has remained in its ownership for the past 130 years, retaining the temperance philosophy throughout a multitude of functions and events down the ages.
However, time has caught up with the remaining older members of the society, who have decided to sell the historic site to the City of Greater Geelong for just $1.
Keith Grigg, whose ancestors settled in Ceres in 1851, summed up the main reason for the handover: "We've run out of puff."
After two years of talks with City Hall about assuming ownership of the hall, the remaining society members had been disappointed that council officers recommended spurning the offer.
"We always thought when the time came, council would take it over," Lex Gugger told a council meeting this week.
"We are getting fewer in numbers and age has caught up with us."
While the sale price is token, $175,000 of work is needed to bring the 151-year-old building up to a required standard and $11,500 in ongoing annual costs awaits.
Pleased with the council's decision to take on the hall, the society would like to see the alcohol prohibition continue and the 151-year-old building not left to languish.
"We would certainly not like to see it end up as the Ritz in Bellerine St has," Mr Grigg said.
While there are 12 temperance halls listed in Victoria, just five of those still have alcohol bans.
A council report states the Ceres community would like to see the temperance practice retained.
Heritage Victoria is also in favour, saying it would serve as a "demonstration of a way of life in danger of being lost".
The Theatre of the Winged Unicorn, which puts on productions and cultural events from the hall, has offered to manage the facility on behalf of the council.
Elaine and Dennis Mitchell first organised a play at the hall in 1989, before creating the Theatre of the Winged Unicorn four years later.
"I would love to be able to form an independent board of management that looks for the welfare, continuation and nurturing of this special building that means so much to Ceres," Mrs Mitchell said.
Deputy Mayor Ron Nelson said the hall also hosted a broad range of community activities, and provided toilet facilities for the adjacent local church.
"It plays a significant part in maintaining the essential character of Ceres," he said.
"It is important that buildings to be preserved are judged on their merits, and the Ceres Hall qualifies as a building of considerable local significance."


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