Community

Why Dalton residents have every reason to sing

Sally Hopman21 January 2022
Workers in a hall

Volunteers put the final touches on the new floor in the Dalton Hall. Photo: Supplied.

They certainly know how to celebrate in the village of Dalton.

The first step is to resurrect the former derelict 1923 village hall – the once centre of town celebrating its centenary next year, and what better way to mark the event than by bringing the community hall back to life.

In its heyday, the Dalton Hall was used for everything from acting as a remote bank to being the place for local dances, weddings and 21sts.

But it fell into disrepair about 15 years ago, becoming a haven for no one other than the birds.

Dalton local Julie Perryman said it was terrible to see the community hall deteriorate.

“Other people had tried to fix it up over the years, tried to get it back on track but there was never enough money,” she said.

“It was sad because it was such a popular place in its day. People would come into town on a Friday and stay. There was always something going on in the hall – it was a major part of our community.”

Old hall

Before: The Dalton Hall prior to restoration work. Photo: Supplied.

About six years ago, the community got together and decided that the hall, originally built from locally-made gravel blocks, was such a good asset that something had to be done to bring it back to life.

“We needed a central meeting place in Dalton. Not the church halls because they are being sold off. It had to be the hall because it was the main meeting place.”

A committee was formed in 2015, appointed by the Crown Lands Department, and by the following year, work was well underway towards restoring it.

Julie said funds were made available for the project by Crown Lands initially, then over the next few years, from the Cullerin Wind Farm, Veolia Mulwaree, Acciona, Essential Energy and the Upper Lachlan Foundation.

Over the next five years, locals were able to rewire the building, install a new toilet block to include a mobility accessible unit, install a wheelchair-accessible pathway and carpark at the rear of the building, rebuild the kitchen, install a new tallowwood floor, rebuild the stage and dressing room, install new front steps and a guard rail and repaint the interior and exterior of the building to its original colours.

Old building

After: The Dalton Hall repainted to the building’s original colours. Photo: Supplied.

The Dalton Hall will officially reopen on Thursday, 17 February with a concert from the Small Halls Summer Festival Tour, starring musicians Karen Lee Andrews and Juzzie Smith as well as local band San Trails.

Festival of Small Halls is a not-for-profit music tour from the people who are responsible for the Woodford Folk Festival, Woodfordia Inc. It will tour 20 small halls across NSW including Dalton and Goulburn.


READ ALSO: Meet the stitches of Dalton’s close-knit community


Karen Lee Andrews’ music covers classic rhythm and blues as well as soul, influenced by her Polynesian background.

One-man-band Juzzie Smith, who is based in Byron Bay, manages to play harmonica, guitar and percussion at the same time, using all of his body.

His shows have attracted more than 200 million views on social media around the world and placed him on top of the iTunes blues chart globally.

Tickets are now on sale on the Festival of Small Halls website for the Dalton event on Thursday, 17 February from 7 pm. Food will be served from 6 pm with drinks available from the Royal Hotel Dalton.

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