Dibdin's Concert Hall

From Hotels of Ballarat

Dibdin's Concert Hall, also known as the Allendale Dramatic Hall, was a large hall at Allendale.

Site[edit | edit source]

The hall was built next to the Speculation Hotel at Allendale, Victoria.

History[edit | edit source]

The hall was built by local landowner, J. Thomas Dibdin, next to his hotel.

The new concert hall at Allandale is nearly finished, and it will likely be ready for performances about the end of January. The ceiling has to be pannelled, and the stage, which is large and lofty, will be suitable for small and compact companies. The hall itself will hold from 250 to say 300, and is well adapted for musical entertainments. The enterprising owner, Mr Dibdin, will, through an advertisement in the Ballarat and Melbourne papers, let the advance agents, know about the time it will be ready.[1]

It opened in April 1882:

DIBDEN'S CONCERT HALL AT ALLANDALE. The township of Allandale, situated about five miles from Creswick and nine from Clunes, has made, wonderful progress within the past 12 months. If the mining operations now going on in the immediate locality prove permanent, as all indications appear to favour, Allandale will in course of a few years fairly rival Clunes and Creswick. Already it is far in advance of Smeaton and Kingston. There are now erected within the township three banks, the Joint Stock, Bank of Australasia, and Union, Post and Telegraph office, three churches, several large and well stocked stores; a hotel, the Speculation, second to none in appointments in its district, and scores of comfortable looking miners' cottages. To the energy and business enterprise of Mr Thomas Dibdin the astonishing progress of Allandale is indebted. Mr Dibdin being the proprietor of the land upon which the township is situated, has spared no expense or trouble in advancing the mining and commercial interests of the place, building up his own fortune as well as that of his tenants. Mr Dibden’s latest enterprise has been the erection of one of the largest and most elegantly furnished concert halls in the whole district. The hall is intended to accommodate 400 persons, and has been erected at a cost of about £1500. The arrangements all throughout are most complete — both before and behind the curtain— as the following particulars will prove: - The hall is lit with gas manufactured on the premises, generated in one of Needle’s patent machines. The lights and reflectors display considerable taste, and the hall when lit up on Thursday evening last presented quite a brilliant appearance. The scenery and wings were painted by Mr Matthews, jun., of the Academy of Music, Ballarat, and for artistic taste cannot be equalled out of Melbourne. Mr Atkinson, also of Ballarat, supervised the erection of the stage machinery. At the rear of the stage are two retiring rooms, with fire-places, and well furnished Fire escape doors are also provided — in fact, no point has been overlooked to make the building both safe and comfortable to visitors. The architects were Messrs James and Creber, of Ballarat. Another important item has not been overlooked, at the rear of the hall is a very large tank filled with water, attached to which is a hose over 100 feet in length, which in case of fire can be played on any part of the building. The hall was opened on Thursday evening last by a concert and ball, which, as anticipated, proved most successful. The building was crowded, visitors being present from all parts of the district. The ladies and gentlemen who took part in the entertainment hailed from Ballarat, Clunes, Creswick, Smeaton, &c. The vocalists were Misses Smyth (2) and M. Dickson, and Messrs C. Brown, M. C. Donnnelly, Wilde, Front, Cutten, Gilbert, Brady, and Edwards, Messrs Cutler and Wilks rendered effective service on the violin and piano, whilst several solos and accompaniments on the piano were pleasingly played by the Misses Jenny Smyth, Fraser and Martyr. Mr Anketell, of the Union-Bank, acted as conductor. The proceeds of the concert will be devoted to the Creswick Hospital. At conclusion of the concert loud and continued cheers greeted the performers. The ball which followed was most enjoyable, music and dancing being indulged in for several hours. The most unbounded hospitality was displayed by Mr and Mrs Dibdin towards their visitors, one and all of whom speak in glowing terms of the attention paid them. When the company, separated it was with most pleasurable and grateful recollections of the Allandale Concert Hall.[2]

The hall was dismantled in 1918 and moved to West Footscray:

CYCLONE AT ALLENDALE. SOME DAMAGE CAUSED. Allendale. Saturday. What might be termed a cyclone passed over this town on Saturday, and, whilst it lasted, was very severe. The contractor. Mr. J. M Burke, and his assistant, Mr. P. J. Fryer, for pulling down the Dramatic Hall, formerly owned by Mr. H. Collins, but which has been disposed of to the Progress Association West Footscray, were busy at work, but fortunately saw the hurricane approaching, and had just ample time to get down off the ladder before the gale struck the building. Fortunately the roof had been dismantled, but the sides and other parts suffered severely. The Speculation Hotel, to which it is adjoined, stood the strain, but the rooms adjoining suffered damage. Fortunately no person was hurt. A considerable amount of damage was done to the timber, which is of the best avail able. The building was first erected by the late Mr. T. J. Dibdin J.P., in the early part of 1881.[3]

Meetings[edit | edit source]

The hall was the venue for the Creswick Miners' Association meetings when industrial action was being planned in July 1883:

The special meeting took place, as stated, at Dibdin’s hall, a place of amusement that is a credit to Allandale. The building was crowded almost to suffocation. It was estimated that there could have been no fewer than 600 persons present.[4]

W. G. Spence spoke a a large meeting at the hall to explain the maritime strike in November 1890.[5]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1881 'NOTES FROM COUNTRY DISTRICTS.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 27 December, p. 4. , viewed 25 Dec 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article202598032
  2. 1882 'DIBDEN'S CONCERT HALL AT ALLANDALE.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 10 April, p. 2. , viewed 25 Dec 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article200669659
  3. 1918 'CYCLONE AT ALLENDALE.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 14 October, p. 6, viewed 27 February, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article154778614
  4. 1883 'THE SPECIAL MEETING', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 23 July, p. 2. , viewed 25 Dec 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article202508829
  5. 1890 'THE SHIPPING DIFFICULTY.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 6 November, p. 4. , viewed 03 Mar 2024, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article204140778