Chermside School of Arts

Introduction

There are about fifty references to the Chermside School of Arts on this website which gives one an idea of how important it was to the social life of Chermside till after World War II.

The Methodist Church, which opened in a hut in 1873, would have served a secondary function as the first social centre in the local area.

The Downfall State School opened in June 1900 served as a social centre mainly for the parents and pupils. It was supervised by a local committee of Parents which would have been the forerunner of the later P. & C.

In 1914 All Saints, Church of England opened on its present site and also served as a social centre. Prior to this they held services in the School of Arts.

The Alliance Hall


School of Arts - Enrollment
Thomas Hamilton lived at Downfall Creek (Later Chermside) but joined the Lutwyche branch which probably means there was no branch at the hamlet of Downfall Creek.

Sometime between 1894 when Thomas Hamilton joined the Lutwyche Lodge of the Protestant Alliance Friendly Society of Australasia in Queensland and 1898 the Society built a hall on the corner of Hall Street and Gympie Road at Downfall Creek. This hall was to play a major role in the life of the growing settlement.

The Society was one of the many Friendly Societies operating at the time in Australia and many other countries. For a regular fee they provided money for medical, unemployment,funeral costs of the early settlers. Much of their services have been taken over by the Government in the post World War II period. (More information on Friendly Societies available on this website.)

The School of Arts minutes for 8th October 1909 state: The committee paid 120 pounds on (a deposit of) 10 pounds, (with) interest at 5% for the Alliance Hall from the Perseverance Lodge. It was a shell with no linings and tin walls, wooden floor. The lighting system was three kerosene lamps.

The wooden floor showed that the hall was 'up to date' or 'state of the art' for the time as there were still buildings with dirt floors in the area.

The minutes for 1910 February read: Three acetylene gas lamps were bought from Mr Reid and the kerosene lamps were sold to Aspley State School for 15/-, 10/- and 5/- (Shillings) respectively.

They were really moving with the times as acetylene would have been the equivalent of LED lights of today.

The Recration Club & Library


School of Arts - Minutes 1898
The meeting that was held in the Alliance Hall, Downfall Creek on the 12th October 1898 was typical of the 'do it yourself' attitude of the early settlers.

The minutes of the meeting were probably written by Thomas Hamilton as he used a backhand style of writing and he was involved with the hall up until his death in 1951.

The only minutes we have of the Recreation Club and Library are those of this first meeting which include some 17 rules for Club & Library. The next set of minutes are those of the Chermside School of Arts which began in 1909 in the same building.

The foundation men of the Club were Michael J. Gallagher J.P. (Tanner), William E. Sammells (Storekeeper), Ludwig Herman (Builder), Thomas A. Hamilton (Blacksmiths & Carriage Builders)
Fred Murr (Drayman), Gustav Bulling (Storekeeper), George H. Hack. (Carpenter), Joe Cooper (Tanner), Robert Knox (Farmer) and Mr. Jerrard,

The aims of the Club were stated in the minutes:
1. Mutual Improvement in Debate and Composition
2. Diffusion of Knowledge by establishing a Library, Reading Room and, if practicable, by
providing Lectures or Evening Classes
3. The Cultivation of Sociability by affording opportunities and providing the necessary
material for such games as Chess, Draughts or any other that may be approved of by a
majority.

It is impossible to judge the success or otherwise of the Club as the only record we have is the minutes of the first meeting.

It is more than probable that the Club carried on until the School of Arts was started as the founders were a very determined group of men who did not give up easily.

The School of Arts


School of Arts - Ian Rye Sketch
This sketch was done from memory by Ian Rye in about 2008 and shows the building as it was remembered when it was operating in the 1950s.

The School of Arts was founded on 21st June 1909, but it grew out of the old Downfall Creek Recreation Club which was formed on Thursday 13th October 1898 in the Protestant Alliance Hall on the corner of Hall Street and Gympie Road.

When the School of Arts was formed in 1909 several of the officials were also in the earlier organisation; also, the aims of both seem to have been similar.

The foundation men included Thomas A Hamilton (Blacksmith & Carriage Builder), John King (Storekeeper), Jack Lemke (Butcher), R Sumner, F Hackett (Storekeeper?), Fred Walters (Bank Clerk), Thomas Powell (Sexton Lutwyche Cemetery) , Alfred Smith (Carpenter), Ludwig Herman (Builder), Alfred Cranston (Dealer), Edward Chesterfield (Butcher), William E Sammells (Storekeeper), H Ackinson, Michael J Gallagher (Tanner), James Slaney (Tanner) and George Rainey (Farmer).

The two groups of men, for it was men only in those days, who met in the Protestant Alliance Hall, were far sighted, community minded people who were concerned about the welfare of the small farming village of Chermside. They were people who did things for themselves and the community; they provided services that today are provided by the City but at the beginning of the 20th Century transport limitations ensured that many things had to be done locally or not at all.

These men were generally well educated although probably most of them never went to a secondary school; they were self educated by reading and constantly debating points of view.

Today we are likely to drive to the Convention Centre, the State Library at South Bank, one of the many large reception centres located around the city, the privately owned Movie Megaplexes, the Discos, the Night Clubs and numerous other venues.

In 1898 and until the post World War II era the local Halls or Schools of Arts provided some or all of the services of these institutions; they were also the forerunners of the municipal Library system of modern Brisbane.

Some Committee Members


School of Arts - Some Committee Members
The all male committee was not unusual for the time, but the wives and daughters were not far away. They did much of the work in local organisations while the men were at work. But the times were changing and soon after this photo was taken in 1900 the women began to appear in similar photos.

This photo is the Committee of the Downfall State School taken at the opening of the school in June 1900. Seven of the eleven men are also involved with the School of Arts and/or the Recreation Club and Library. They were:

Back Row: L to R: Thomas Hamilton,(Blacksmith and Carriage Builder), Thomas Powell (Sexton at Lutwyche Cemetery),-----------, Ludwig Herman (Builder), George Hack (Carpenter), ---------------
Front Row: -------------, -------------, John King (Storekeeper), William Sammells (Storekeeper), Fredrick Murr (Drayman)

Those who are not named above were:

Back Row:James Hamilton (Builder) and Lou Campbell (Unknown)
Front Row: Paul Maggs (Tanner), Charlie Murr (Blacksmith)

None of these men had any experience in managing a library or a School of Arts or a School but they were aware of the value of these institutions so they were prepared to work towards establishing them in their little settlement.

Downfall Creek was small in 1900, about 200 persons plus the surrounding farming families. But these men were aiming high and backed by equally determined wives, they succeeded.

School of Arts: Building expansion 1910.


Minutes of the School of Arts: Excerpts relating to Additions to the Original Building in 1910.

Minutes kept by Mrs. Jean Tune and made available for summary by Society

1909 8th October: The committee paid ₤120 on a ₤10 deposit, interest at 5% for the Alliance Hall from the Perseverance Lodge. It was a shell with no linings, tin walls and wooden floor. The lighting system was three kerosene lamps.

1909 December 17
Extend Hall by 25 feet with 10 ft. for anteroom and 10 ft. for stage - J Hamilton to draw plans NB: the figure 25 feet is actually written in the minutes which were confirmed on January 20th 1910.

1910 February 11 & 24
Couple of tenders for additions ₤96 and ₤97 but a limit of ₤90 was decided by meeting.
Acetylene Gas lighting of 6 lights + 4 extra for another ₤3 was accepted from Mr Reed

March 31
A tender from Mr. E Michelwright of ₤93 for additions was accepted - see above 1909 Dec 17.
A social was to be held.

Brisbane Courier Tuesday 26th April 1910 p.6 described the Inauguration of the extension of the building on Saturday 23rd. In the report the overall dimensions of the building are given as 60 ft. long and 24 ft wide. (Inside or outside is not stated.) The report notes that 25 ft was added to the building;

1914 July: The next-door allotment was purchased for ₤30 - there was a humpy and a dividing fence on it and both were sold for ₤4-10-0 and ₤1-15-0 respectively. The allotment thus cost only ₤23-15-0.

School of Arts: Building expansion 1925


School of Arts Chermside 3
This is one of three views we have of the old School of Arts, taken in 1958 by the Brisbane City Council when building the new Chermside Library. It clearly shows the roof over the expanded library built in 1925. The ridge on the new roof is a very short one indicating that the addition did not extend very far.

From the 1925 minutes of the School of Arts on February 9 the committee accepted the tender for the Library extension of J. Hick & Sons for 397 pounds. In addition Electric light to be installed and tender of Mr Tench was accepted.

It is not clear if the gable on the main hall was on the original building but it seems more likely that it was installed when the library was extended. This gave the building a much better appearance to the Gympie Road entrance.

March 9 the Secretary reported that Mrs. Packer had consented to loan the School of Arts 300. The loan was accepted and interest of 2-11-4 was approved for payment on 15 July 1925 with more payments being listed later.

April 6 - Moved to hire a Perriot group to give a performance at the Concert for Opening of the Hall No date for the Opening Night.

May 9 - The Committee instructed the contractor to install a stove recess. Also that the under back of the Hall be closed in with iron. An addition of 3 feet to the stove pipe was approved on July 27 so the stove had been installed, presumably in a detached kitchen. It could have been separate from the main hall as a fire precaution; this was a common procedure when the stoves were all wood burners.

June 29 - Payment to J. C. Hicks & Sons of the balance on contract 238-0-0 which means the addition was complete.

August 24- Moved to purchase a ten gallon boiler and stand. Like the kitchen it would separate from the building as the water was heated by a wood fire.

1946 Aerial Photo of School of Arts


School of Arts Aerial 400
This image comes from the Brisbane City Council website using the 1946 Aerial Survey of the city. It is in the section on The City Plan 2014.

The block listed 3 RP 25110 with a street number of 763 was the Chermside School of Arts in 1946. It was on the corner of Hall St. and Gympie Rd. almost opposite the entrance to Kidson Terrace and Norman Drive.

The dark patch below it listed as 4 RP 25110 761 which is on Hall Street must also be part of the building as the 1980 photo shows that was where it was located. Also the photo below of the Downfall Creek Furniture Bazaar locates the School of Arts on the opposite corner of Hall Street.

Composite photo showing part of the School of Arts

School of Arts Furniture Bazaar
The Downfall Creek Furniture Bazaar was on the opposite corner of Hall Street to the School of Arts which can be clearly seen on the left. The owner of the Bazaar, Mr. Sammels was the caretaker of the School of Arts for many years.

The School of Arts can be clearly seen on the left of the photo with two of its pivot hung sashes (windows).

Front View of S. of A. post 1925


School of Arts - front view 1957-8
This photo shows a door or window on the left or north side of the building. At first it seemed that the door was in the library.

This photo is one of four which the Society has in its archives of the outside. It was probably taken by the Brisbane City Council in 1958 when it was building the new Library in front of the old. The view is from Gympie Road.

The old building had been moved back to make room for the new building. Sometime later the gables were removed.

The gable on the right may have been on the original building or it might have been added when the smaller gable was built over the library extension in 1925.

Removal of wall F - Final Addition C 1948


School of Arts Wedding Stan and Dulcie Argo 1948
This photo shows the internal wall F removed and the hall widened. It also shows the door in the north side was beside the library.

This photo settled the location of the door in the north side. The previous photo seemed to show the door in the library but several members of the Society were adamant that there was no door in that wall of the library. This photo settled the difference.

Floor Plan Showing Additions


School of Arts Plan Z 5
The numbers on the right are block numbers with street numbers added.

Chermside S. of A. Plan Z 5 Key
1. A: First Stage: Original Alliance Hall C1897
2 & 3 Storage rooms for Masonic Lodge and Protestant Friendly Alliance
4. Original Library Room
5. B: Second Stage: 1910
6. Stage for the Hall
7 & 8 Dressing Rooms
9. Sink
E: Adjacent block bought 1914
10. C: Third Stage: Expansion of the Library 1925
11. Sheltered Entrance, Ticket Booth & Shoe sole cleaning metal grill
12 & 13 D: Fourth Stage: Annex and Kitchen C 1947 F: Wall removed to Stage
14. Outside Pan Toilets - From the beginning!

Doors are shown as openings in the walls.
Windows are shown as narrow additions on outside walls.

Record of Additions and Costs


Chermside School of Arts was built in four stages

Note: The original prices are recorded in Pounds/Shillings/Pence and have been converted into 2016 Dollars and Cents. This gives an idea of the cost of building the same things today. However there is the original cost of a land purchase which does NOT take into account the rise in land values on Gympie Road in the middle of Chermside.

Part A: The original Protestant Alliance Friendly Society Australasia hall was 35 feet (10.6 m) long and 24 feet (7.3 m) wide . It was built on an East-West axis with the entrance on Gympie Road i.e. (West) and the South side on Hall Street. It had a pitched roof with gable ends and tin (corrugated iron) walls. "It was a shell with no linings and tin walls, wooden floor" . The Alliance Hall, as it was known was built between 1895 and 1898.
Part B: In 1910 the School of Arts Committee bought the building for 110 ($14,584.54) and they added 25 ft. (7.31 m) to the Eastern end making the building 60 ft. (18.2 m) long ; this addition accommodated stage and dressing rooms and cost 93 ($12,330) At some time the 'tin' wall on the Hall St., side was replaced with weather boards. It may have been n the largest building in Chermside at the time; the other large building would have been the Methodist Church on the site of what later became the Wheller Gardens.

Part C: 1925 the Library was extended and enlarged at a cost of 397($31,103.64) and electric light was installed. This increased the overall length of the building. Using the side view photo of the front of the building the skillion roof over the ticket office and entrance would have to be a minimum of 6 ft. wide. New length would have been about 66 ft. long

Part D: Between 1947 and 1949 the long narrow annex was added on the North side with a kitchen at the eastern end. Unlike the earlier building it had a skillion (lean too) roof and, what looks like, fibro or asbestos cement sheets lining the outside wall; Fibro was just becoming available in the 1920 s but was much more common in the post WWII era.

Part Block E: Minutes 1914 July: The next-door allotment was purchased for ₤30 ($3,390.74) - there was a humpy and a dividing fence on it and both were sold for ₤4-10-0 and ₤1-15-0 respectively. Cost ₤23-15-0 ($2,673.04)

Comments: The large gable on the original building may have been there from the beginning or perhaps from 1910 when the hall was extended, but the second, smaller gable would have been added in 1925. The smaller gable was built to conceal the roof of the library which was lower than the roof of the main hall. See photos. The stage had a roll up canvas curtain on which local firms could advertise their products.

Last Photo of the School of Arts C 1980


School of Arts building in 1980 when it was demolished
Originally the walls were clad with corrugated iron but at some stage it was replaced with weatherboards, at least on the Hall Street side. The front had the more expensive and better looking, rusticated weatherboards which feature in the Bridal Party photo below and may have been put on in the 1925 additions.

This is the last photo the Society has of the School of Arts and it was taken in 1980 shortly before the old building was demolished to make the car park behind the new 1958 library.

Photo was taken from a newspaper, the Nundah Express and shows the side of the new library. The view is from Hall Street.

A Social Centre


School of Arts - Perseverance Lodge Meeting
The original owners of the Alliance Hall, the Perseverance Lodge, Protestant Friendly Alliance of Australasia, Queensland held regular meetings in the School of Arts.This photo of the executive shows that both men and women were active and the woman in the front centre is Sister G. Richardson the Acting Worshipful Master. The photo was taken not long before 1918.

The School of Arts provided many services to the local community including a lending Library, a meeting place for all the local organizations, a place of further education, a place of recreation, a place of emergency services during World War II and even, at times, a place for religious worship. In fact it could be described as 'the village moot' where the solutions to local, and sometimes state, problems were thrashed out in debate among the citizens of the little local antipodean democracy.

The hall was continually used for Dances, Euchre Parties, Games, Scouts, Private Parties, Concerts, Balls, Political meetings, Progress Association, Perseverance Lodge Friendly Society, Masons, Order of the Eastern Star, Red Cross, Church services, Send Offs and Welcome Homes to the troops, Banking, Picture Shows, Wedding Receptions, Dressmaking and Bookkeeping classes, Sporting Clubs such as Athletics, Cricket, Cycling, and travelling Actors.

During World War II many lonely young soldiers used to come to the dances and thus found their way into the local society by being invited to visit families at home. At the dances the library room was used as a cloak room which was supervised by Mrs. White, Jessie Smith and Miss Massey all of whom became mother figures to lonely soldiers who would confide in them.

Capacity of the Main Hall


School of Arts - Menerey Farewell 1933/4
This photo was taken before the addition was made to the north side of the building. It shows both walls of the main hall in their original condition with windows on both sides.

The hall could accommodate up to 300 people seated at a time as shown in this photo of the farewell to Mr. Menerey the retiring Head Teacher of the Chermside State School in 1933/4. There are about 280 people in the photo which was taken from the stage at the east end.

Dances which were held regularly would not be this large as they moved around continuously in the ballroom dancing of the time.

Identifying the People in These Photos


School of Arts Goward Family Reunion 1949
The Goward Family Reunion was held in 1949. The right side shows the old side wall had been removed and replaced with posts to hold up the roof. This means that the Northern addition had been made to the School of Arts.

The CDHS Inc. have identified many of the individuals in these two photos but unfortunately we have to shrink the photos in order to put them on the web. This makes the numbers too small to read.

However the original photos have been scanned and the numbers can be easily read. These photos and the lists of names are available at our premises at 61 Kittyhawk Drive.

Concerts


School of Arts - Concert 1904

Concerts were often used as a means of raising money for good causes. These two flyers are separated by some 33 years.The concerts depended on local talent for music, acting, singing stage managing as this was the age of 'do it yourself' so they did.

Sometimes they would be school concerts featuring the pupils from the local Chermside State School.
During World War I concerts were held to raise money to provide funds to send parcels to the troops.

In all the concerts they could depend on the support of the local Methodist Church which had a very active orchestra

School of Arts - Playette 1937

Wedding Receptions


School of Arts - Wedding Reception - Smith - Wyatt

The hall was ideal for Wedding Receptions and many were held there over its sixty years of operation. This one was the Smith-Wyatt wedding held in 1942 during World War II when Brisbane was uncomfortably aware of the possibility of air raids;Townsville experienced them to say nothing of Darwin and Broome.

The men didn't have any problems with what to wear, but the situation for the young women was much different. Clothes and material were rationed however, with the help of family and friends, enough clothing coupons were collected to get by.

Grand Ball


School of Arts - Grand Ball

Local Balls were a common feature of life in the small outlying areas of Brisbane and they were held in local halls. There were not many cars but people could walk, ride their bikes, harness up the horse and sulky; they would get there and home again somehow.

The Library


Library School of Arts Workroom
This photo is undated but it was probably taken some time after 1925 when the northern extension was added to the original building. This addition enabled the library to be expanded and when it finally closed in 1952 it had a stock of 3,000 books.

At the heart of the School of Arts was the Library which would have automatically been taken over from the Downfall Creek Recreation Club. There is no record of how many books and papers there were but the new School of Arts expanded the Library with continuous purchases of books, newspapers and periodicals.

The Library also acted as a Reading Room with a supply of local papers and periodicals such as The Sydney Bulletin, Life Referee, London Graphic, Scientific American, the Grazier and local papers. A dictionary was available at a time when most people had never seen one; for a time Hansard was available, and during the Depression the monthly journal of the Douglass Social Credit Association was available. These were left "on the table" for a set time and then disposed of by selling the periodicals to local people and the papers would probably be sold to the local butchers.

The first mention of the Library in the minutes was on the 27th August 1909 when it was recorded that:

Sectary. was instructed to write to Mr Sumner & ask him if he would kindly forward his promised donation (To buy books for the Library) also to Brisbane School of Arts & ask them if they could assist our Library with a donation of their spare books.

A letter dated 1923 from the Isis Downs, Blackall School of Arts - Lakes Creek, gives some indication of the reading material in a country School of Arts.

It lists the periodicals as Sphere, Australasian Geographic, American Life, Pastoral Review, Courier, Boy's Own Paper and Girl's Own Paper. Categories of books are listed as fiction, essays and prose, poetical, biographical, historical, scientific and botanical, miscellaneous, topographical and travel.

In the same year George Lemke, the Secretary at Chermside, informed the Department of Public Instruction that they had 5 periodicals, 400 books of fiction and 185 of general literature.


School of Arts - Library Notice 1920s

This Library Notice was to advertise the Library around the local area. It was one of the few methods of advertising in the 1920s

The opening hours did not change even when the Brisbane City Council bought the School of Arts in 1952, I think the volunteers still staffed the library but were supervised by a trained librarian.

The Hon. Secretary George Lemke was one of the local butchers in Chermside.


School of Arts - Library Book with Notice

The books were labelled, numbered and clearly noted the lending period. The librarian probably had a card index with the details and the borrower's name. In the early days if a borrower was overdue they would have to keep a lookout while shopping as they might meet the Librarian also out shopping.


School of Arts - Library Notice C 1952-58

When the Brisbane City Council bought the School of Arts they continued to use the library in the old building until the new 1958 building was opened.

The name was changed and put on the old building.

They kept similar hours to the old School of Arts and charges were retained for some years.

The Kedron Continuation Classes


School of Arts - Dressmaking Certificate
Mary Elizabeth Chalk was the Grandmother of Joan Hamilton who was one of our foundation members. Mary studied dressmaking in the School of Arts but the award was made by the Technical College.

The name Kedron may have had something to do with the Kedron Shire which had its headquarters at Chermside and the classes were held in the hall and supervised by the School of Arts Committee. They were for people who had left school but wanted, or needed, to acquire further skills.

How many subjects were taught is unknown as the only records that survive are for Dressmaking and Bookkeeping classes . It is not known how long these classes continued as the records only cover the period from March 1909 to June 1911 . This indicates that the classes operated under the School of Arts and, possibly the earlier Recreation Club.

The students seem to be mainly unmarried women, but some men appear in the bookkeeping classes. The teachers were paid a salary, the Government subsidised (Endowment) the classes with regular cash payments, the students paid fees and the financial books were audited by the Government Auditor, A. H. Smith. He wrote all comments in green ink and actually wrote out a couple of sample pages to show the bookkeeper how to set out the accounts; this, no doubt, improved the recording of the finances.

The Penny Savings Bank


Delys Jeppesen mentions that these local banks were established in Mackay, Bowen and Proserpine around about 1908, while David Teague dates the Chermside one as 1905 . It seems that they were started by local people organising them and drawing up the rules to suit the local area. Jeppesen says that the Proserpine bank was organised by the local school headmaster but there is no record of who started the Chermside bank.

The School of Arts took over the existing Penny Savings Bank in 1909 and a Committee to supervise it was elected at the August meeting. At the September meeting a letter was received from the Treasury notifying that the Chermside Penny Savings Bank be accepted and interest paid on the full amount of deposits.

In October the Committee withdrew ₤110 from Penny Savings Bank to pay for the purchase of the Hall and although this sounds a little like 'charging Peter to pay Paul' it must have been a recognised business technique as the books would have been audited by the Government Auditor.

At the Annual Meeting 27th July 1912 the Statement of the Penny Savings Bank showed a turnover of some ₤750 for the year, which indicated that it had the support of many local clients.

In 1913 a branch of the Queensland Government Savings Bank was opened in Chermside and it was decided by the Committee of the School of Arts to close the Penny Savings Bank and pay out all depositors. Unfortunately this did not proceed as smoothly as hoped and, in May 1914, after the allocated money had been refunded another depositor presented a withdrawal request for ₤7/16/10.

The controversy over who was responsible for paying the sum became known as the Penny Bank Case and it dragged on for another two and a half years. Failure of the parties to reach agreement led to court proceedings in March 1915 and the decision was in favour of the Committee. The other party had to pay the amount owing to the depositor along with costs at the rate of 10/- a month, which they did, and the minutes record that the matter was finalised in December 1916. Even then it is not clear from the minutes who paid the final pound or so, the defendant or the Committee.

There was no mention of any dishonesty so it seems that this was a case of mismanagement by a person who was not trained in banking being appointed to do a job that required specific skills. The pity of the whole incident was that the person responsible for the mistake was a very hard working supporter of the School of Arts.

Closure


he School of Arts handed over its assets, including the land, to the Brisbane City Council on 9th September 1952 and officially ceased to exist.

The Committee at the time was Messrs. G. Lemke, Sam Harris (secretary for 22 years), W Hacker, W Mills, F White, Alec Hamilton, Bill Argo, Mrs J White (librarian for 30 years), Mrs J Smith and Miss Massey.

The Hamilton family had been continuously associated with the institution from 1898 to 1952, a total of 54 years.

But the old library and building continued on with a new name: Chermside District Municipal Library which would operate under a combination of Professional and Voluntary Librarians.

Chermside District Municipal Library


School of Arts - front view 1957-8
After the old School of Arts was bought by the Brisbane City Council in 1952 it was renamed the Chermside District Municipal Library and continued to operate. Some time later it was moved back from Gympie Road to make room for the new library which opened in 1958.

An advertisement appeared in a local paper in 1953 headed "Chermside District Municipal Library" and gave the Subscription Rates which were One Pound (20/- per annum - 5 books; 10/- half year - 3 books; 5/- per quarter - 3 books; 2/6 p.a. and 3d per book. (NB: 10/- = $1.)

The charges were abolished in 1978 when the Annual Report for that year announced that membership would be free.

The opening times were 7.30pm to 9.30pm on Tuesday nights and 10am to 12 noon on Friday mornings. This clearly shows that the Library carried on and was the first Municipal Library in Chermside although it was open for only 4 hours per week.

The election of Officers for 1953-1954 resulted as follows:
Chairman: Ald W C R Harvey; Secretary: J B Macarthur; Committee: Mesdames J E White, J Smith. Messrs W Argo, P J Bredhauer, B R Galvin.

After the handover the School of Arts hall still stood in the same spot but was then known as the Chermside Library Hall, as shown on an invitation to a Christmas Party being held by the Chermside & District Youth Club in 1953 ; the old Library continued functioning until the new Library opened in 1958.

A local newspaper reported that the new Library would not be built in 1957 due to shortage of funds even though "the old Library Hall had been moved back recently to make way for the new building." It also quoted Alderman Duus as saying "the administration considered its deferment would not greatly interfere with Library facilities in Chermside. The old Library is at present serving the great proportion of the need that exists."

After the new library began operating in 1958 the old building remained and was used as a local hall until it was finally demolished to make way for a parking area in about 1980. (See photo above.)

First Chermside Municipal Library - the first purpose built library.


First Chermside Municipal Library 1958-1997
In 1925 when the northern addition to the to the Chermside School of Arts was opened the expanded Library was 'State of the Art, In 1958 it was replaced with a new 'State of the Art' library. And in its turn it was replaced and the one that followed was replaced by another. At the end of 2016 the Fourth State of the Art Chermside Library will be opened. Will this be the last chapter? When will we ever get the to the end of the story?

At the Annual Meeting of the Chermside School of Arts in 1944 Sam Harris, Secretary, said that he was "looking forward to the day when the Library would be in a building of its own." On Thursday night 20th March 1958 his dream was realized when the new 300 m2 library complex, built on the site of the old School of Arts and costing 13,000 Pounds ($288, 800 in 2004 values), was officially opened by the Lord Mayor, Alderman T R Groom. The old School of Arts building had been moved back to allow the new building to be sited on Gympie Road; it continued to be used by local people until it was demolished in about 1980 to make room for a parking area.

The new library contained 11,000 books of which 4,000 were for children; the old Library held only 3,000 which demonstrated the ability of the larger Brisbane City Council to provide improved services over the older and smaller School of Arts.

The staff consisted of: Miss Ellen Scott, Librarian Secretary; Assistants, Mrs J E White (School of Arts Librarian), Miss Lurlene Caffery and Shirley Dacey.

The committee was Alderman M S Duus (Chairman), Messrs A H Powell, W McGee, F Kimlin, J Myles, E Ladley.

Alderman Duus said that a new civic centre would be built containing municipal offices and a modern sub-tropical public hall with a garden in between it and the library. However he did emphasise that this development was dependent on the local community getting together and assisting the council; but something went wrong and the building never materialised.

When the Second Municipal Library was opened in 1993 the old library building was sold and now, 2007, it is occupied by Viking Kayaks and One Stop Paint Shop, thus severing ties with the old site on Gympie Road after 95 years.

First Chermside Municipal Library 2008


First Chermside Municipal Library 2008

With the new library operational the old 1958 one was available for shops. The small one on the left was a Canoe shop which had just transferred to another site on the other side of Hall Street. The Paint shop continued for some time.

First Chermside Municipal Library 15-5-2016


First Chermside Municipal Library 15-5-2016
The function of the building has changed, but some things never change. Note the electricity pole standing in the same spot as the one shown in the earlier 1946 aerial photo.

At the time when the New Library Mark 4 was being built the new shops were trading in the 1958 building. These new shops are the result of the migration that is characteristic of our society, they offer Indian spices and meals to the people of Chermside and District. The small one on the left is a spice shop while the larger shop is a restaurant offering Indian foods.