Note: This memorial hall no longer exists. It was demolished c2005.
The Castle Hill Anzac Memorial Hall was a single story building, constructed from brick and timber. It featured a brick porch over the front door, which was decorated was the Rising Sun emblem of the Australian Commonwealth Military Forces. A flagpole stood outside the entrance and the building was surrounded by lawn and garden beds.
The hall stood on the corner of Old Northern Road and Old Castle Hill Road in Castle Hill from the mid-1930s until approximately 2005, when it was demolished. The area previously occupied by the hall on the south-western corner of Arthur Whitling Reserve was merged back into the parklands.
The origins of the hall and of the Castle Hill Returned and Services League can be traced back to 1932, when the 'Hills District Returned Sailors and Soldiers Club' was formed, to assist First World War veterans and their families.
In early 1935, the club began approaching the local council for a loan of £1,500 to fund building works. At a meeting in February 1935, the club spokesperson said:
Castle Hill lacks a public hall. The only hall we have here is a church hall, and the social activities now are very limited ... For a long time we have had the idea of getting a hall in Castle Hill. No one else seems prepared to have a go at it; so the Returned Soldiers' Club decided to take the matter up.
(The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, 25 February 1935)
After the original Castle Hill railway station and shunting yards were demolished that same year, construction work began. The foundation stone for the hall was laid by NSW Governor Sir Alexander Fix this textHore-Ruthven around November 1935 (The Sun, 21 November 1935). Image 1 above shows the finished hall in 1936. It was proclaimed under the Theatres and Public Halls Act, 1908 on 22 May and opened that September (The Cumberland Argus, 24 September 1936; Government Gazette of the State of NSW, 29 May 1936). Space was limited inside the hall, so the diggers excavated a space under the stage in which to gather. This basement area was known as 'The Dugout' (Castle Hill RSL website).
In 1954, the original soldiers club became known as the Castle Hill RSL Sub-Branch. Image 2 above shows the hall in 1958, with the surrounding streets and buildings. In time, the hall became the first Castle Hill RSL Club building and the Hills District Historical Society Museum operated from the basement. When the sub-Branch vacated the premises in 1974, and relocated to a larger and purpose-built site, the hall was renamed the Castle Hill Community Centre.
- Image 1 - The 1936 photograph was sourced from page 62 of Settlement of Baulkham Hills and Castle Hill Townships 1791–1997. First published by Hills District Historical Society, 1997; second edition, 1999. Copyright Hills District Historical Society, Castle Hill. Printed by Southwood Press Pty Ltd, Marrickville, NSW, ISBN 0957760205.
- Image 2 - The 1958 photograph was sourced from page 59 of Pictorial History, Baulkham Hills Shire by John McClymont. First printed by McPherson’s Printing Group, 2003. Copyright Kingsclear Books, 2003, IBSBN 0908272758.