Frank Page

The 166 year old W.E. Stanbridge Hall has been at the centre of parish life at Christ Church over all the years since it was built. The hall was initially a school for girls and was one of Daylesford founding-father William Stanbridge’s many generous acts of philanthropy. Christ Church, Church of England School opened on 4 May 1857 with 50 pupils enrolled. The school building was also used for worship until the Church was built and opened in 1864.

In recent years it has been used as a reception centre and as a venue for community activities such as craft shows and markets. Well equipped venues are always in demand across Daylesford and district.

In recent years there has been work to refurbish the facility and proposal to build an extension of the hall to the rear. This development was seen as an opportunity to provide a venue that could continue to cater for the needs of the parish and also be hired by organisations and individuals.

Over the past year we have undertaken a range of improvements by way of refurbishment of the hall. These have all been well received and the hall is looking fresh and with good heating and cooling ready for the vagaries of Daylesford weather! Bookings have increased and the hall is returning to greater use and activity. While the refurbishment has been proceeding very well, plans for the extension have been shelved.

A critical consideration with this development was the heritage listing of the hall. This heritage listing is obviously important but it also adds special requirements in order to maintain its heritage status; e.g. aluminium windows need to be replaced with wooden framed windows. Maintaining heritage requirements adds to demands on limited funds.

Revenue generation is an important element for maintaining the work and upkeep of the parish. In the aftermath of the pandemic, building costs have sky-rocketed. With limited funds available this became another important factor in determining the future of this project. After much thought and discussion the decision has been taken to abandon the significant investment of constructing an extension to the hall. The project was not financially viable.

Using our limited fund reserves this has been a positive decision allowing us to upgrade the hall to a much higher specification. A priority for us is the kitchen which we will upgrade to a commercial standard. In addition to the main hall we will create a multi-function space for community and commercial use.

We will shortly be affixing a heritage plaque to the front of Stanbridge Hall provided by Heritage Victoria and recognising its heritage status. We see the plaque as symbolic of a new beginning for the hall.

We are continuing to make the hall available for hiring and minimise any disruption from any refurbishment activity.

Any enquiries for booking the hall should be directed to Anne Milton (e:, m: 0466 759 398).

Frank Page is a Daylesford resident and an active member of the Christ Church parish community.

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