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Laying of the foundation stone for extensions 17-08-1904

From the Kapunda Herald, Illustrated Supplement, September 2, 1904.

Hamley Bridge Institute Officers and committee

Back Row (L to R): Joseph Black (one of the founders), J G Traeger, M Finey J.P. (vice-president), Dr. S L Dawkins J.P., A G Brock (a librarian), Joseph Bell J.P.

Front Row (L to R): J T Quinn (president), A P Buckerfield (secretary), Thomas Freebairn J.P. (who laid the foundation stone), J B Tayler and A A  Jefferies (a librarian).

As an expanding and prosperous business town it is only proper that Hamley Bridge should extend its intellectual capabilities.  That it is doing so had ample exemplification on August 17, when the foundation stone was laid of a commodious addition to the Institute premises which has had suffice for requirements for some years past.  For several years the committee and the subscribers have felt that if the Institute were to the value to the town which it should be, it was necessary to provide greater and more modern facilities for patrons, whether are readers or public entertainment caterers.  It was, therefore, resolved to extend the premises by the erection of three rooms – library 16ft x 12ft; reading 20ft x 16ft; and cloak room 16ft x 7ft; with a vestibule 20ft x 8ft and all 18ft high – in the front and also to lengthen the existing room by the addition of about 13ft 6in, thus providing greater stage room, and two dressing rooms (each 12ft x 12ft) which, if necessary, can be converted with the stage into a room 49ft long, and, at the same time, rendering available the full space of the hall as an auditorium, which has now a floor space of 50ft x 30ft.  The work is being carried out by Mr J T Quinn, of Hamley Bridge, at a cost, including lighting, of about  480.


The present officials are as follows: President – Mr J T Quinn; vice-president – Mr M Finey, JP; secretary and treasurer – Mr A P Buckerfield; and the committee – Dr D Dawkins, Messrs J G Traeger, B Taylor; librarians – Messrs A A Jefferies and A Brock.  The library contains about 800 volumes, which have been carefully selected to meet the needs of general readers, and also those who delight in the more profound class of literature.  The committee have not been able to show such an increase in the number of books as their purchases  warrant, as, for want of space, having to take out of the library old books to make room for new ones.  The membership numbers 50.  All the leading newspapers and magazines are taken.


The stone was laid by Mr Thomas Freebairn, JP, of Brighton, who was one of the earliest pioneer residents of the district of Alma, who was presented with a silver trowel by Mr J T Quinn (president of the Institute). 


Under the stone were placed a list of the present officers and copies of the Kapunda Herald and daily papers, and a document giving particulars concerning the Institute and the day’s proceedings.  The stone, which is white marble, bears the inscription – “Theis stone was laid by Thomas Freebairn, J.P., on August 17, 1904.”


Mr Joseph Black, as one of the four originators (the others being Messrs Joseph Bell, F W Grossett, and W R Barker, the last named acting as secretary), of the Institute, made a brief historical statement.  For a number of years in the early days of the town Hamley Bridge had no such thing as an institute or a room for the use of the public for the purpose or reading the newspapers and literature of the day.  The need of such an institution was also greatly felt for entertainment and meeting purposes.  The only place available was Mr Joseph Bell’s wheat store, but it meant a considerable amount of work in preparing it, which fell upon a few willing hands.  Tis went on until 1880, when a few residents decided to establish an institute.  Officers and committee were appointed and a room was rented from the late Mr F W Grossett.  This was carried on for some time under some difficulty, but in time the committee were rewarded with the prospect of success and a move was made for the erection of a suitable building.  Subscription lists were issued, and the sum of  100 was raised and to this the Government added a subsidy of  100.  Thus having  200 in sight the committee borrowed  250 and the present building was erected at a cost of  450, the land being given by the South Australian Company.  The trustees appointed were Messrs. John Condon, Thomas Griffin, F McEllister, H J Charlton, Joseph Bell and J Black.  The opening of the Institute took place in the year 1884, a tablet to that effect having been placed over the doorway on June 4 of that year by the Hon J J Duncan, MP.  Things went on for a time but interest flagged on the part of the public, and it was with difficulty that the doors were kept open.  At last, however, the tide turned, and greater interest was taken in the institution, and, shortly after the arrival of A P Buckerfield iin the town he was induced to accept the secretaryship.  Mr Buckerfield infused new life into the concern, and having the assistance of a few of the more enthusiastic supporters, he soon made the Institute a live one, and after a few years’ struggle with the liabilities that had accrued, engagements were met promptly, and the sum of  200 paid off the mortgage.  Since then, with the expansion of the town, the Institute had progressed, and some twelve months ago it was resolved to make additions to the premises.


The secretary (Mr A P Buckerfield) spoke on the financial position of the Institute.  The present liability comprised a mortgage of  150, and  480, cost of the present additions, making a total of  630.  The mode of raising this was by borrowing  400 from the State Bank,  100 from their building fund, and promises of  100.  The mortgage of  150 was to be paid off and  25 interest paid to the State Bank, leaving a deficit of  55, which they expected to raise by that day’s proceedings and the opening of the Institute.


Mr Joseph Bell, JP, gave a brief retrospect of the career of the Institute and the town, and expressed his pleasure at the advancement which had been made of late years.


Mr F Bohnsack JP, spoke on behalf of the Alma District Council, and extended congratulations to the Institute committee for the enterprise they had shown, and the town on the prospect of the possession of an Institute that would be an acquisition to the town.


Mr M Finey JP, moved a vote of thanks to Mr Freebairn for his valued services that afternoon, and in doing appealed to the townspeople for support for the Institute.


Mr S L Dawkins seconded the motion and also bespoke for the Institute the cordial support of the townspeople.


The motion was carried with cheers.


Mr Freebairn replied, and the proceedings terminated.


Mr. Thomas Freebairn J.P., laying the foundation stone 17-08-1904



Hamley Bridge Institute re-opening 18-1-1905




The ceremony of opening the Hamley Bridge Institute, after the completion of additions took place on Wednesday, January 18th , 1905 and was successfully carried out.  The ceremony was performed by Mr. Joseph Black (one of the founders of the Institute).  On the visitors entering the main hall short addresses were given, the proceedings being presided over by Mr. J. T. Quinn (president of the Institute Committee).  The original building was erected in 1884, and did good service, but the progress of the town during late years rendered it necessary to provide increased accommodation for subscribers and for persons using the assembly hall for entertainment and other purposes.  The premises are now commodious and comfortable and a credit to the town.  The work was carried out by Mr. J. T. Quinn, builder, Hamley Bridge.

Re-opening of the Hamley Bridge Institute

On Wednesday, January 18, 1905, the Hamley Bridge institute was officially re-opened, having been enlarged and fitted up with necessary conveniences of an adequate nature for the needs off the town and district.  The opening ceremony was performed by Mr. Joseph Black, who before declaring the building open, said that they had met that day on an important occasion in connection with the Hamley Bridge Institute.  For many years Hamley was without one, when a few of the residents decided to start an Institute and a room was rented for that purpose in the main street.  After years of struggling it was eventually decided to build, and the original building was erected in 1884.  After useful service for twenty one years it was found inadequate for requirements, as the population of the town had more than doubled in that period.  Residents considered the old building not in keeping with other parts of the town, and so the work of improvement and enlargement had been entered into by public-spirited townsmen.  They must agree that it is a great credit to all parties concerned.  When Hamley Bridge was first laid out Sir Jenkin Coles had offered an allotment for institute purposes.  His generosity was not availed of, and he gave the land to another deserving institution.  The land on which the building stands was presented to the South Australian Company.  He wished prosperity to the institute and had pleasure in declaring the building open.

The proceedings in the main hall were initiated by Mr. J. T. Quinn, who acted as chairman, and read apologies for the unavoidable absence of Hon. Richard Butler and J. J. Duncan, Mr David James, M.P., Dr. Dawkins and Mr Charlton.  

Sir Jenkin Coles regretted the unavoidable absence of his fellow legislators, and was also sorry that he would not be able to participate in the evening’s programme, as it was necessary for him to return to Adelaide.  He complimented the Hamley Bridge people, and particularly the Institute committee, on their improvements to the Institute, which, in proportion to population was equal to anything he had seen.  His sympathies were largely with institutes, as he regarded them as great educational mediums, but considered too much light literature was used.  He would suggest the abolishment of novels, as it was better to have a few good books of educational merit than hundreds not of permanent value.  He proposed a vote of thanks to Mr. Black for his work that day and the interest he had always evinced in all matters connected with the Institute.

 Mr F. Bohnsack, in seconding, said that all the thanks Mr. Black got he deserved.  He had been connected with the institute since it’s inception, and had borne office continually until the last annual meeting.  He believed in novels as a relaxation, but considered books of educational worth were needed.


Cheers allowed for Mr. Black, who in acknowledging, said that Mr. J. Bell was entitled to share honours, as that gentleman had been connected with the Institute from the start.  The chairman (Mr. Quinn),said Mr. Bell had not been forgotten as he was among those who had been made life members.  He asked Sir Jenkin Coles to make presentations.  Sir Jenkin then presented life memberships to Mssrs. J. Black, A. P. Buckerfield, and J. Bell.


Mr. J. Bell said he was always ready to render assistance to such a laudable institution as the Institute.  He would always continue to be a member and be willing to render active assistance.


Mr. A. P. Buckerfield, who was greeted with cheers, said he highly appreciated the honour.  The Institute was in a sound position.  The debt before improvements were effected was  150.  The enlargements had been estimated to cost  420, but extra conveniences including acetylene gas, and hall and room fittings had increased it to   487 15s. 9d.  The efforts of the building committee and the people had reduced the original debt, and the liability was now  400-.  The members totalled 45, and the books on the shelves numbered 1,200.


A vote of thanks was proposed to Sir Jenkin Coles for his presence, which Sir Jenkin suitably acknowledged.  A highly successful entertainment was rendered in the evening before a good house, and the proceeds of the day were satisfactory.


Supper Room

Opening of Institute Supper Room, 1933


Centenary Celebrations