Ravenshoe Military Entertainment Facility
Ravenshoe School of Arts Hall
- Atherton Tablelands
cnr Grigg and Wakooka Street, Ravenshoe 4888
During World War II, the Ravenshoe School of Arts Hall was the scene of army concerts, vaudeville reviews and dance evenings, such as on 30 December 1944 when the 2/24 Battalion dance band entertained the troops of the 9th Division and the local community in celebration of New Year’s eve and what was the last year of World War II.
Built about 1912 to 1914, the Ravenshoe School of Arts hall was among the first public buildings to be erected in the new town. The 'School of Arts' movement began in Britain in the 1820s to provide places where working class men could hear lectures of use in their practical work, or access a library and so improve themselves. By 1900 Australia’s many country towns each supported a School of Arts (or Mechanics’ Institute), most with a membership of about 100 and a library of about 1000 books.
For almost a century the Ravenshoe School of Arts has served as a library, a community hall, a picture theatre and a dance hall. For years it was used as a school after disastrous floods swept away the local state school.
Clearance of the rich stands of rainforest timbers on the Evelyn Tableland increased after 1903 as the district was surveyed for agricultural selection in anticipation of the proposed railway extension from Herberton. But delays in construction meant that access to the district remained difficult. Packhorse and bullock teams provided the only means of transport and the town of Cedar Creek was not settled to any extent until 1910. When the railway from Herberton reached Cedar Creek in late 1916 and the new terminus was renamed Ravenshoe.
The Ravenshoe School of Arts is still used for social functions and regular meetings of the local Buffalo Lodge.
Pearce, Howard (contributing author).
Personal communication: Graham Hepple, Ravenshoe RSL Association.
Howard Pearce. WWII: NQ: A cultural heritage overview of significant places in the defence of north Queensland during World War II. Environmental Protection Agency, Brisbane, 2009.