Yes, it really was a night to remember!
Long-time islanders reckon it was the best night’s entertainment that Bruny has seen for many years, with more than 140 people gathering to celebrate the centenary of the lovely old Lunawanna Hall.
"The date was 26 November 1919. World War I had ended just over a year before.
On that day – a Wednesday – the Governor of Tasmania, Sir Francis Newdegate, travelled to Bruny Island to officially place the foundation stone of the Lunawanna Memorial Hall, in tribute to the servicemen of the district who fought in the Great War and in acknowledgement of their families who stayed behind.
Building the hall involved the wider community – post-war austerity led to delays in construction, but the hall finally opened in 1924.
In November 2019, the Lunawanna Memorial Hall reached its 100th anniversary of the laying of its foundation stone and we celebrated this significant event in our community with an evening of fun, music and entertainment."
—The Lunawanna Memorial Hall Committee
Early arrivals heard the distant sound of pipes and drums approaching along Bruny Island Main Road, as the Tasmania Police Pipe Band marched towards the hall. The crowd moved aside as the band filled the room with stirring martial music – it was a fitting introduction to the official part of the evening, with the dedication of the newly-installed honour board and commemoration plaque.
Trevor Adams read the Ode of Remembrance and after a minute’s silence, Adrian Howard spoke movingly about the impact of the Great War on the small and close-knit communities of Bruny Island. From the Lunawanna district, 20 young men left their farms and orchards to fight overseas. Six never returned – and those who did survive the war came back with changes that would affect them for the rest of their lives.
But as well as marking such moments of sombre reflection, it was also a night of celebration and entertainment. Talented Tasmanian dance troupe The Moonlight Aviators lit up the stage with their tightly-choreographed routines, brilliantly supported by the swing band Arman & Co and guest vocalist Rebecca Oliver-Black.
The old hall rocked as The Moonlight Aviators led a packed dance floor through some tricky moves. Later on, DJ Matthew Fagan’s tribute to the Sixties and later decades kept things moving. Beverages flowed across the bar, the supper was fantastic, the fire pot glowed until … well, until long after this correspondent had wandered back along the road to bed.
Many thanks go to the generous sponsors, particularly BrunyIsland.au, Pennicott Wilderness Journeys, Sealink and Bruny Island Safaris. The organising committee worked hard to make the centenary celebrations a success – Kerry Marvell, Bill Hughes and April Bromfield deserve special appreciation, as do the many volunteer helpers, without whose efforts the event would not have happened.
And now of course, everyone’s question is – surely we don’t have to wait another 100 years to enjoy another wonderful night like that?
Written by Chris Viney (Bruny News: http://www.bica.org.au/Brunynews.html)