Anzac Hall

Carle - Gateway to the Wairarapa
Anzac Hall, Featherston, Anzac Day, 25 April 1921. Includes Governor-General, Lord Jellicoe, second from right, A D McLeod and J W Card.

Official party on the dias outside the Anzac Hall, Featherston, 25 April 1921.
Includes Governor-General, Lord Jellicoe, second from right, A D McLeod and J W Card.

The finest hall of its kind in the Wairarapa is the Anzac Hall, in Featherston. This lofty building was opened by Sir James Allen, in 1916, as the Wairarapa Anzac Club. Messrs. Allen Donald, Quentin Donald and W. E. Bidwill were responsible for the beginning of the raising of funds for this building. They telephoned the descendants of all the early settlers residing in the district and this set in motion a fundraising campaign which resulted in the erection of the club buildings.

In the building is a list of names of all who subscribed. The patron was Lt. Colonel N. P. Adams, camp commandant. and the trustees Sir Walter Buchanan, Messrs. J. O. Bidwill and Alfred Matthews.

The committee was:

Messrs. W. E. Bidwill (chairman),
W. Barton,
H. H. Beetham,
W. H. Booth,
Q. Donald,
M. Elgar,
W. Hume,
W. J. Martin,
A. D. McLeod,
Hugh Morrison,
E. V. Riddiford,
J. W. Card.
Arch. Clark,
A. Campbell Pearce.

The treasurer was Mr. A. J. Toogood and the secretary, Mr. A. E. Laery.

Men from the military camp were entertained at dances and concerts while there were billiard tables and all club amenities. In the supper room there is now a valuable collection of photographs of Wairarapa pioneers.

Control of the Anzac Hall is now vested in the Featherston Borough Council and in this building is the Kiwi Memorial Hall, which commemorates the sacrifice of the men from Featherston and district who lost their lives in the Second World War.

In March, 1915, at a grand patriotic concert, there was a public auction of a Union Jack given by Mr. J. W. Card. Mr. L. O. Ingram was auctioneer and the first knock-down was to Mr. D. H. S. Riddiford, for £100. The flag, when finally sold to Mr. J. W. McMaster, of Tuhitarata, for £63 10s., raised a total of £1,070. Mr. McMaster handed over the flag to the Town Board.