Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Creelman Memorial Hall

The foundation stone for the Creelman Memorial Hall, once located in Harold Street, West End, was laid on 16 April, 1921. Designed by Townsville architect Stephen Harvey, the building was purpose-built to accommodate Presbyterian Sunday School pupils.
Creelman Memorial Hall, West End, Townsville, 1924.
Photo: Townsville City Libraries.
William Marshall Creelman, to whom the building was erected as a memorial, died after a brief illness in December 1919. Mr Creelman was a very prominent member and office holder in the Presbyterian Church, having become a member in 1894, an elder in 1896, and Session Clerk in 1897. He was also Treasurer of the church and served 24 years as Superintendent of the Sunday School he started at his own home in West End.

The Townsville Daily Bulletin reported in October 1916, that, “for several years, by the kindness of Mr Creelman, Sunday School had been held on the verandahs of his house, and now there were between 70 and 80 scholars, it was time they had a hall”. After several years of fundraising, work finally began on the hall.

The Rev. W. Sinclair, presiding at the ceremony to lay the foundation stone for the hall in 1921, explained that the building was an extension of a great work established in the district by the late Mr Creelman. The proceedings opened with the singing of the 100th Psalm, followed by a prayer.

The Mayor, Alderman W.H. Green, and Mr S.M. Hopkins, of the business firm Hollis Hopkins; laid two principal foundation stones.

Alderman Green said he regarded it as an honour and a privilege to be asked to lay the first stone in connection with the building, intended for God’s work in the training of youth, and as a memorial to one who had done so much for the boys and girls of that neighbourhood. He believed that “the greatness of the British Empire depended upon its homes, churches and schools, which built the character of the boys and girls”.

Miss Dorothy Swenson then presented the Mayor and Mr Hopkins with miniature polished mallets, with silver inscriptions, as a memento of the occasion. Other inscribed stones were then laid by a number of others representing various branches of church work, including one laid by Mrs Creelman.

Afternoon tea and “dainty refreshments” were provided by a committee of ladies in a temporary marquee on the grounds.

Mr Creelman, who made a living as an accountant, was evidently very highly thought of in secular circles as well. Mr S.M. Hopkins, who laid the second foundation stone, said he had known and worked with the late Mr Creelman for 15 or 16 years. During the time they had worked together he said he had personally seen a side of Mr Creelman that few other people had seen.

While many people knew Mr Creelman well from his church work or Sunday school work, Mr Hopkins knew him through his everyday work in business, and he felt that “in that character no one could wish for a more loyal and true man”.

Mr Hopkins felt sure that Mr Creelman could not have wished for a finer memorial than the hall.
Demolition of Creelman Memorial Hall, 17 July 1972.
Photo: Townsville City Libraries.

The Rev. G. Galloway officially opened the W. Creelman Memorial Hall on 23 August, 1921. The building was destroyed during Cyclone Althea in 1971 and demolished in 1972.

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