Scope-of-works study finds Morisset Memorial Hall needs a new roof at $400,000

EXTENDING HISTORY: Beryl Mullard and daughter Marion Baldwin have welcomed the findings of a scope-of-works study on the hall. Picture: David Stewart

EXTENDING HISTORY: Beryl Mullard and daughter Marion Baldwin have welcomed the findings of a scope-of-works study on the hall. Picture: David Stewart

BUILDING and heritage specialists said installing a new roof on Morisset Memorial Hall could extend the life of the otherwise-sound building by another 100 years.

But the specialists' report estimated a new roof would cost up to $400,000.

The findings have been welcomed by the owners of the property, the Morisset Memorial Hall and Literary Institute Incorporated.

"That $400,000 doesn't surprise me. It's a big building," institute vice-president Marion Baldwin said.

The institute is hoping for state government support in funding the new roof.

"The Lands Department were very supportive of the hall being repaired and used again by the public," Ms Baldwin said.

The hall, on Dora Street, has been closed as a safety precaution since July 2017 due to deterioration of the building's roof trusses.

Ms Baldwin said the experts' findings were made in a scope-of-works study over five months involving heritage architects and engineers, structural engineers, and quantity surveyors.

That study was funded by two grants.

Some $9280 was provided through the Department of Veterans Affairs Community War Memorials Fund, and $25,000 from the Public Reserves Management Funds Program.

"Now that the scope-of-works study has been done, we can acquire further funding to undertake the repairs to the hall," Ms Baldwin said.

The institute will apply for funding through state government schemes including the Community Building Partnership program.

Ms Baldwin said a new roof would improve the functionality of the hall.

"We'll finish up with a much better building," she said. "A new roof would include insulation, better wiring, and excellent lighting."

It would feature pre-fabricated trusses.

Ms Baldwin said the engineers who pored over the building said a new roof could extend the life of the hall by a century.

Making news:

The hall was dedicated as a war memorial on November 11, 1927. Last year, the hall was added to the NSW War Memorials Register.

Ms Baldwin and her mother, historian and author Beryl Mullard, said they wanted the hall to be considered as the long-term venue for Anzac Day services in the town.

Beryl Mullard in the entryway to Morisset Memorial Hall, which has been closed since 2017. Picture: David Stewart

Beryl Mullard in the entryway to Morisset Memorial Hall, which has been closed since 2017. Picture: David Stewart

"We would like to offer the garden area at the front of the hall as a potential site for the relocation of the RSL plaque and flagpole that is currently at the old Morisset Country Club site," Ms Baldwin said.

"This way, the Anzac Day service could remain in Morisset.

"It would be in a central, high-profile area in the main street and, with our status as a war memorial, it would be the most appropriate site."

South Lake Macquarie RSL sub-Branch said in June it was exploring potential alternative venues for its Anzac Day and Remembrance Day services following the shock closure of Morisset Country Club in May.

Dora Creek Workers Club was among the alternative venues under consideration.

But Ms Mullard said it would be disappointing if Morisset lost its Anzac Day services to Dora Creek.

"We're losing our identity if it goes to Dora Creek," she said.

"In the early days, all the returned ex-servicemen met here at the hall, and it's where the RSL held its meetings, and the RSL Women's Auxiliary met downstairs in the hall."

Ms Mullard said the garden at the front of the hall could be reworked to accommodate the cenotaph and flag pole.

Dora Street could be closed to traffic for the Anzac Day ceremony, with vehicles diverted around the gathering via, say, Doyalson and Bridge streets.

Morisset Memorial Hall and Literary Institute Incorporated, which boasts 277 members, will hold its annual general meeting on Friday, August 30, at Morisset Community Centre, from 10.30am.

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