Updating the Drill Hall Entry
Strahan’s Drill Hall sits discreetly beside the
town’s imposing Customs House, yet this modest building has played many
important roles in the life of the local community.
The store was built in 1900 as a Bond Store at the peak of Strahan’s
development as one of the principal trading outlets for the mineral and forest
resources being exported from the burgeoning West Coast to Hobart, Launceston
and Melbourne. With a large amount of goods being imported,
it was essential to store the goods safely
while agents were awaiting payment of orders, arranging onward freight or
sorting out payment of government duties.
The building’s life as a bond store was short lived. Federation was fast
approaching and by 1906 customs ceased and along with it the need for bond
stores. The building was repurposed as a drill
hall for training local soldiers during both the First and Second World Wars.
Between the wars, the hall was used for school social functions.
After World II, ownership of the hall was transferred to the local
council. It became the venue for many local activities including Anzac Day
commemorations, public meetings, school concerts, games of badminton and as the
Strahan Indoor Bowls Club.
Structural issues forced its closure in 2015, and in 2017 the Parks and
Wildlife Service completed a range of essential conservation works.
The Drill Hall entry on the Tasmanian
Heritage Register is one a number of entries that are being updated to improve
information, and to make it easier to understand a place's significance and
therefore why it is listed in the Heritage Register.