A community gem for nearly a century
The Balcairn Public Hall began life in 1926 after several years of community fundraising, to create a memorial site for those lost in WW1. It quickly became a beacon for social activity.
In 1926, the guest speaker at the hall's opening was the Hurunui electorate MP, George Forbes, who later became Prime Minister.
During his speech, he is reported to have said that public halls were a 'very necessary part of life in all country districts'. This he said was because they are 'the centre of social activity' and prevented young people from becoming bored with rural life and leaving for the 'excitement' of bigger towns.
He also paid tribute to the 'the ladies' who organised a successful garden fete - a crucial part of the fundraising effort, and which also provided the funds for a piano.
Over many ensuing years, the hall was used for community dances, fancy dress balls, baby and kitchen showers, local indoor sports such as table tennis and indoor bowls and so on.
By the turn of the century, however, the hall was in need of significant repairs. Something had to change and a new committee of locals was established in 2010. The ownership of the hall was transferred to an incorporated charitable society. Significant fundraising efforts resulted in restoration works including a new roof, re-cladding and kitchen renovation.
Today, the hall's reputation as a great community venue continues to grow thanks to the hard working committee, elected annually from the local community.