Many thanks to Graeme Parfitt for providing this information
BRIEF HISTORY OF THE MURRAYS BAY RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION AND OUTRAM HALL
On 6th November 1940 a meeting was held to consider the purchase of a section in Murrays Bay for a public hall.
On 19th December 1940 the rules and regulations for the Murrays Bay Progressive Association were agreed to. The rules were duly signed on the 27th of February 1941. The Registrar of Incorporated Societies issued the Certificate of Incorporation dated 1st April 1941.
On the 2nd July 1941 the executive wrote to Mr. Horspool who owned a section adjacent to the Tairorahi Stream asking him if he would sell it for a public hall.
On the 11th August 1941 Mr. Horspool wrote back and said yes he would sell it subject to two conditions
1) £50 cash for the section; and
2) any public hall would have to be named Outram Hall as Outram was his middle name and Outram came from his great uncle Sir James or General Outram. (His picture is in the hall). I believe he fought in India.
On the 11th August 1941 the association wrote to Mr. Horspool accepting his offer to purchase the section.
The public hall building was costed to be erected for £275. (I know this included all materials but not how much labour as much, if not all the building, was carried out at working bees). Nine people are mentioned as having been involved in 4 months of solid hard work.
The hall was opened on Easter Saturday 23rd March 1942. The hall was two floors with the main hall and a supper room below. There was no internal access way between the two. That night the celebrations were a card evening.
Throughout 1942 dances were held in the hall every weekend. The dances were attended by young people from all the bays even though there were few roads and Beach Road, the main road, was marginally better than a trail with gravel on it.
Two interesting features were the lack of any works carried out in Murrays Bay due to the war and that the association could not arrange a meeting with the local riding member of the Waitemata City Council which was the local authority. This authority covered all of west and north Auckland up to Warkworth and Helensville and had its headquarters in Greys Avenue in Auckland City.
The association also lodged a complaint with the Council that the night soil contractor was performing his duty in an unsatisfactory manner i.e. leaving full bins behind and also spilling the contents of the bins.
On the 15th September 1942 the committee applied to the Food Control Authority for tea and sugar coupons so that these could be purchased for social evenings. They were granted 11b tea and 31b sugar per month.
In 1946 the country library service was set up in the Hall.
The association had 90 members. There were regular Saturday night dances, card evenings, indoor bowls (6th July 1947 formed), the library opened, a Plunket clinic started up and games evenings for young people were popular.
In 1949 the committee approved £750 for Hall extensions. These were completed in 1950 and involved extending the Hall and adding a stage area and a kitchen and dressing room on the lower level. An internal stairway was provided at the side of the hall. To pay for the building of the extension a loan for £750.00 was taken out in 1951. The terms were repayable on the 14th February 1956, interest at 5.5% (4.5% if paid within 14 days). Early payment at the rate of £100 or multiples of that was possible. These additions were officially opened on the 30th May 1950.
By 1951 in addition to those using the Hall detailed above the Hall was being used by St. Johns Ambulance, Play Centre, Country Women’s Institute, table tennis and the Baptist and Catholic Churches. The total membership was 102 members which was over 50% of the population of Murrays Bay. The Coasters Table Tennis club who used the Hall as their clubroom was the Auckland Champion Club for much of the 1970’s. With the new table tennis centre in Auckland the Club closed.
In 1954 the committee decided public toilets were required to be built with direct access from inside the Hall. Previously the toilets were an outdoor longdrop separate from the Hall.
Regular letters were written to the Council from the association about the state of roads, night card operator, the need for a public telephone box, upgrading of the bridges and the need for a harbour bridge.
In 1958 Mr. Birnie (who had been President between 1945-1951 inclusive) stated that “he hoped Outram Hall would never be handed over to Council like Mairangi Bay Hall”!
Regular complaints came from a neighbour Mr. Wiseman about the noise from dances etc. in the Hall. Mr. Wiseman used to walk up along the boundary making a noise himself as a protest or banging on the Hall and shouting. Mr. Wiseman was a partner in the legal firm bearing his name and was a local identity who regularly criticized the Council. He was sued by Jack Hinton who won after accusing some Council members of graft and corruption.
Two stores, a milkbar where the restaurant now is and Lye store, where two units are now next to the existing Outram Hall existed in Murrays Bay into 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s.
The brick house on the corner of Gulf View Road and Beach Road was built with second hand bricks from the McKay brickworks. It was owned and occupied by the McKay family.
The old house between the house at the corner of Westbourne Street/Beach Road and the two units next to it (the ex Lye store) was once host to a garden party with Oscar Wilde as the guest. Sam Hunt held his first public performance as a poet in the old Outram Hall. Sam came from Castor Bay. He still has fond memories of that first performance.
The area down the bottom of Gulf View Road towards the wharf was once Torquay a public road and was used for public car parking.
In 1965 the Association received £100 from the Golden Kiwi Grants to build/erect a Harman garage for storing the rescue boat of the Murrays Bay Boating Club.
In 1968 the regular Friday night dances ceased.
In 1973 there was a proposal for a motel where the restaurant is. This did not get approval.
From 1974 there was regular correspondence with the Council about the behaviour of the boating club – particularly boat trailers being parked all over the beach. In 1974 the association supported the now restaurant and shop proposal. Concerns about footpaths, roads, parking on the beach reserve, dogs on the beach, boat trailers on the beach and the need to upgrade the Hall were contained in regular correspondence with Council.
In 1981, the East Coast Bays City Council bought the ex-Wiseman property next door to the association’s land. They commenced discussions with the association about a new hall and combining the two sites.
In 1984 the new plans were developed and approved.
In 1985 the new building finally received town planning consent. Council consent had been appealed to the Town and Country Planning appeal board by owners of the restaurant. We were successful.
The old hall was closed on 7th March 1986 and moved to Kauri Park School.
The new hall was officially opened on 7th June 1986 at 2.00pm. The library was finally closed as few now used it.
GRAHAM J. PARFITT
ps: I want to pay a tribute to Joyce Osbourne, a long-time resident of Bournemouth Terrace, who has been involved with the Association, all of its existence and has compiled records of the Association history and for a long time was the Association secretary. Her late mother was the librarian for most of its life.