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Lawrence Hall celebrates 125 years

It was standing room only inside the Lawrence Hall on Saturday for the official ceremony to mark the buildings 125th birthday. Images: Lynne Mowbray. See page 19 for more images.

It was standing room only on Saturday for the official ceremony to mark the Lawrence Hall’s 125th birthday.
Despite having all three levels of politicians in attendance, the ceremony was very relaxed, which was in keeping with the small village of Lawrence.
The MC for the ceremony was Robert Reeves who introduced the first speaker, Clarence Valley mayor, Jim Simmons.
“He’ll tell you how he’s going to clean our rates up,” Mr Reeves said.
His tongue in cheek comment brought smiles to many in the crowd, including Mayor Simmons.
After touching briefly on the rates Mr Simmons told of his affinity with Lawrence and how back in his youth he would ride his push bike from his home in Grafton, to visit friends in Lawrence.
“The Lawrence Hall is something the community should be really proud of,” Mr Simmons said.
“It is still being kept in good order and reflects what the community has done here over the years.”
Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis was next to speak and acknowledged Mayor Simmons and wife Lexie and light-heartedly added that he wouldn’t talk about the rates, because he was a ratepayer too. He then acknowledged ‘the late Kevin Hogan’ who had just arrived, after being unavoidably detained.
Mr Gulaptis spoke briefly about the Lawrence ferry which he felt has helped to keep village feel, to Lawrence. He then spoke of the new bridge over Sportsman’s Creek, which would hopefully be completed by the end of the year.
Mr Gulaptis said that the community hall was an iconic part of regional Australia and congratulated the Lawrence community.
“You’ve done a fabulous job and I’m sure there are many stories that could be told [that occurred during the life of the hall],” said Mr Gulaptis.
Federal Member for Page, Kevin Hogan, also congratulated the community of Lawrence.
“Well done. The effort you’ve gone to [in maintaining the hall],” said Mr Hogan.
“If only these walls could talk.”
Mr Hogan went on to say that our community halls over the years have reflected the cycle of life; celebrating dances and socials, engagement parties, weddings, christenings, anniversaries and funeral wakes.
“Every emotion and experience [of life], the halls do it all with us,” Mr Hogan said.
“Congratulations on your celebration here today.”