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Your photos needed for Thistle Hall

For immediate release: Monday, 28 January 2008

Your photos needed for Thistle Hall

Thistle Hall recently commissioned acclaimed researcher and writer Georgina White to conduct research on 100 years of Thistle Hall. When she heard that we were considering the project Georgina jumped at the chance, having recently published her own book Light Fantastic – A history of Social Dance in New Zealand. Not only was she very familiar with Thistle Hall, but she knew of some of the events and dances that had gone on there in the past.

Georgina has finished her research and writing, but now we need help from you, our community. We would like photos of people using the hall. Did your grandparents get married here? Did you or any members of your family participate in The Caledonian Society, Gaelic Club, Burns Club, Clan Cameron gatherings or The Wellington Scottish Country Dance Club? Were you involved in the CBC Bypass protests or meetings? We need you to send us your photos of people using Thistle Hall.

The booklet celebrates the rich history of Thistle Hall, now 100 years of age. Located at 293-295 Cuba Street, it is one of the few public halls remaining in central city Wellington. Originally built to store groceries and tea, the function of the hall has since been reinvented many times over: as a meeting place, a dancehall, a venue for gigs, a playground, a movie theatre, a classroom, a studio, and now a vibrant community centre and public art gallery. For one hundred years its totara floor has withstood jigs and reels, children’s tricycles, star-jumpers, head-bangers, even earthquakes.

Within the ever-changing landscape of Upper Cuba Street and its surrounds, Thistle Hall’s existence has been tenuous. Since the late 1920s, the hall has risked demolition. Its preservation today is largely due to a group of local women who volunteered to take care of it, clean it and hire it out in the 1980s and 90s. These women ensured that Thistle Hall continued to be available to its community for a minimal fee. In turn, use of the hall reinforced the Wellington City Council’s belief that this was a community centre worth keeping.

Now we need our community again. Please help us find photos of people using Thistle Hall to make this project even more special.


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