Hall farewelled in style

by Kent Caddick

West Melton residents said goodbye to their community hall in style on Saturday night.

The residents held a ball in the West Melton Community Hall which is set to be removed to make way for a $6.9 million multi-purpose community and recreation centre.

The old hall has seen school concerts, wedding receptions, dances, horticultural shows, reunions, district farewells and local group meetings, as well as ballet and gym classes.

For the last time the hall resonated with people having a great time as residents gathered to mark the passing of the hall which began its life as a wool shed for the West Melton Sale Yards and Dip Company, before being turned into a social hall in the 1920s.

The original hall burnt down in 1935 but with the help of community fundraising was rebuilt and in the 1960s further fundraising saw the addition of a kitchen, supper room and lounge as well as the addition of a stage, and a room for Plunket.

At the ball a presentation of a West Melton Medal was made to John Pearce, the oldest living resident on West Melton.

Mr Pearce was born in West Melton in 1931 and has lived his whole life in the Selwyn township, attending primary school at West Melton School which had only 14 students at the time.

He said he and his brother used to help in the potato fields around the town after school and during lunch hours before going on to establish his own farm growing potatoes which became well-known throughout the district.

The West Melton Community Hall resonated with music and dancing for the final time

West Melton’s oldest living resident John Pearce is presented with the West Melton Medal

Photos by Sara-Jane Ludemann