The Pialba Memorial Hall was built in 1906, when it was the Pialba Shire Hall. In 1941 it was shifted across the road to its present location. It is used regularly by a number of community groups. Dance groups are especially fond of it as it has a sprung floor.
The Pialba Railway Station was built in 1896, and used as the station until the railway closed in the 1990s. It is now used as a veterans’ advocacy and counselling centre.
Both buildings are on the Fraser Coast Local Heritage Register. Both were proposed to be removed in the Pialba CBD Renewal Plan. The Plan said that there was “an identified desire to relocate” these buildings but did not say who desired it, or why. The only reason given was to provide “improved access to Freedom Park.”
After a community outcry, the Station building was reprieved, but the Hall is still under threat … but no one can say where it is to be removed to, or why. The cost is estimated by experts as likely to exceed $300,000 plus the cost of the new land.
The only reason I have been able to discern was a statement by the mayor that more green space was needed for the park. But the park has rarely more than a handful of people in it, a thousand could find a place to lunch there, and it copes even with the crowds on Anzac Day.
Both buildings are part of a very limited remaining heritage, and both should be left where they are. Let the community use them and allow them to continue as part of a living resource in our original town centre.
You can read more about my arguments on these buildings in my submission on the Pialba CBD Renewal Plan and my letter to the Fraser Coast Chronicle.
Mark Norfolk produced a fine YouTube video about the hall, with comments by many of its users, and some interesting historical footage. The video is included above with Mark’s kind permission.