Marion’s passion saved historic hall for future

Briana FioreHarvey-Waroona Reporter
Harvey Shire president Paul Gillett thanks Marion Lofthouse for her effort in taking care of the town hall.
Camera IconHarvey Shire president Paul Gillett thanks Marion Lofthouse for her effort in taking care of the town hall. Credit: Picture: Briana Fiore

After serving almost a quarter of a century as caretaker of the Harvey Town Hall, Marion Lofthouse has gracefully decided to call it a day.

Harvey shire councillors recently gathered to show their appreciation for Mrs Lofthouse as she handed back the keys.

Harvey shire president Paul Gillett praised Mrs Lofthouse for her fantastic commitment and tireless effort. “It is not very often that you get people contributing 23 years to saving a building in their community that has such a historic value,” he said.

Mrs Lofthouse recalled how the town came together and fought to save the 105-year-old hall from a partial demolition in 1995.

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“The intended plans would have removed many of the hall’s historic features, including demolishing the entire stage so a desk to pay accounts could be built, as well as adding a toilet block,” she said.

Mrs Lofthouse said the community felt strongly against the town hall being changed so they united to fight the building proposals.

The town got together and fought these changes and succeeded.

Marion Lofthouse

The hall is now National Trust listed in the Harvey Shire Municipal Inventory.

The historic building has an interesting past.

The town’s pioneers overcame several obstacles during construction.

Mrs Lofthouse said two walls fell down during construction in 1912 and the hall then had to be rebuilt.

A year later, the hall collapsed in strong winds and had to be rebuilt once again.

Pioneers of the town worked hard to fundraise and build the community meeting place.

Mrs Lofthouse said Harvey had a special place in her heart because her family, the Mannings, were among the first pioneers of the town.

My family settled here in 1895 so I have a real connection to the town,

Marion Lofthouse

Mrs Lofthouse said it was important to respect the hard work of past generations and maintain the town’s history.

“It has been rewarding to be the caretaker of the hall for the last 23 years. I love how the community is still using the hall 105 years later,” she said.

“This is all thanks to the efforts of our district pioneers and the work from Harvey’s later generations.

“Some people say they will chain themselves to the hall if it is ever touched.”

Cr Gillett said he would ensure the hall would remain untouched.

There will be a historic photo display in the Harvey Town Hall for the Harvey Harvest Festival on March 15.

More than 1000 historic photos from the community will be on display.

Mrs Lofthouse said this year marked 20 years since the exhibition was put together.

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