Date set for farewell for Cromwell's memorial hall

by Kim Bowden - Apr 09, 2024

It has not hosted a function for several years, and now a date has been set for an official send-off for Cromwell's problem-plagued memorial hall.

The future of the building, close to 65 years old, has been at the centre of local government debate for decades, and now moves to replace it have finally gained enough traction to signal its demolition.

A dawn ceremony that will include a blessing to farewell the hall prior to its scheduled demolition is set for Monday, April 29.

The Cromwell Memorial Hall: It's days are numbered.

The date allows for a final Anzac Day commemoration to be hosted at the adjacent cenotaph and memorial gardens.

In a statement this morning announcing the farewell event, Cromwell Community Board chair Anna Harrison says there are many people in town that have had a long association with the hall, and a chance to say goodbye is important.

“Since it was built in 1960, the hall has been focal point in Cromwell and served the community well. Now the time has come to replace it with a new facility that is fit for purpose and future-proofed, for a growing population and a greater range of activities.

“People told us they wanted this new facility, and we are pleased to now be in a position to offer it, while also paying our respects to the old hall.”

The blessing of the site will be lead by iwi, and will begin at dawn on the first Monday after Anzac Day.

The early start signifies the first light of a new day and era for Cromwell and the wider Central Otago district, the council says.  

Sunrise is set for 7.36am and members of the community keen to attend the event need to arrive 10 to 15 minutes beforehand.

The blessing will be followed by speeches, including by Mrs Harrison, former Mayor of Cromwell Peter Mead, and Cromwell RSA president Denis Ryan. 

The council is also compiling a digital archive of photos and memories that they are inviting the community to add to.

In July last year the council voted to demolish the hall and allow the contractor charged with building its replacement to salvage what material it could from it for the new build.

At the end of February the council voted to move forward with Naylor Love as its construction partner on the $45.8-million events centre to be located on the lakeside site of the old hall.

Do you have a memory or a photo of the old hall from days gone by that you’d like to share? Head online to upload. 

Main image (Cromwell Museum): Cromwell Memorial Hall in the 1960s. 

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