Historic hall receives TLC

Historic hall receives TLC

There is a rich history in the community hall at “The Wyrie”, near Millicent and the local branch of the National Trust is its current custodian.

Trust members and volunteers recently held a working bee at the stone premises which date back to the nineteenth century.

Cleaning was a high priority along with such minor maintenance tasks as fixing gutters.

In the days before mechanised transport and sealed roads, the Wyrie Hall was the gathering point for the local community.

Milestone birthday celebrations and church services were held regularly.

Until its closure in the mid-1960s, the nearby Pompoon Swamp Primary School would hold its annual Christmas concert at the Wyrie Hall.

Its external appearance has barely changed for more than 100 years other than the post-war erection of an entrance porch by late local builder Bruce Towers

Meanwhile, volunteers at the Millicent National Trust Museum have also turned their attention to the existing Shell Garden exhibit.

Among the latest improvements have been the addition of a comprehensive information panel.

For around 30 years until the 1990s, the Shell Garden was a tourism drawcard on Williams Road.

Late Millicent residents Iris and Jack Howe began constructing the elaborate Shell Garden in their backyard in 1952.

In the 1960s the Shell Garden was opened to the public.

It proved to be very popular among the local children and interest increased over the years and it became a tourist attraction in its own right.

Mrs Howe used shells, broken bottles, broken china in all stages of disrepair.

Pieces were developed featuring nursery rhymes such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Humpty Dumpty, the Three Bears, the Three Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf were integrated in the garden.

For a small donation, children could spend their day in this imaginary garden and while away the hours as the fairyland atmosphere took over.

Publicity for the garden was given through local and state newspapers, by word of mouth and postcards.

Souvenirs were sold at an outlet at the rear of the property and collection tins for charity were well used.

It closed for public inspection in the 1990s under other owners and the house, land and garden were later purchased by Boneham Aged Care Services.

The house and Shell Garden were knocked down in 2012 to allow for the 40 bed and $13m extension to the nursing home.

Some items were salvaged and are displayed at the museum and in private homes.

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