Hall is situated on the Northern border of the Australian Capital Territory and named after Henry Hall who was the first resident landholder of the Ginninderra district. Originally from Loughborough in England, he arrived in New South Wales in 1823 and immediately got a job working for the Australian Agricultural Company. Ten years later, he obtained a grant of 3,492 acres in the Ginninderra district. He married Mary Fisher, had four daughters, six sons and named his property 'Charnwood' for reasons unknown.
By 1861, settlement in the Ginninderra district had reached an advanced stage. The largest property was owned by William Davis and his wife Susan Adriana. It included homesteads, workers' cottages, a store and a post office. However, it wasn't until 1881 that it was unofficially recognised as a village, and surveyor Charles Potter was instructed to survey the area for an official village site. He chose a location two miles away from the established village.
Working with uncharacteristic speed, the new village was proclaimed official in 1882 and named Ginninderra, which was also the name of the unofficial village, suggesting the government of the time wanted to replace the original with their new improved version. Those in the unofficial village complained, and the new village was named Hall, which was far easier to spell. The new village layout was a simple grid, a common layout at the time. Despite the speed of proclamation the first actual sale of allotments didn't occur until 1886, which was followed by three more sales in 1892, 1895 and 1902. During this time houses and shops were established, saving the residents the two mile walk to the unofficial village.
Hall continued on its merry way until 1911, when New South Wales gave some land to the Commonwealth for a new Capital they had in mind and Hall was included within the boundaries. Just to make it interesting the Barton highway was eventually run through the centre of the village. After World War II, the village went into decline until 1967 when Hall finally obtained a water supply and pre-Yuppies 'discovered' it. Then in 1980 they built a bypass around Hall which had much the same effect as sticking a small cute creature in formaldehyde. Periodically, attempts are made to make the village more 'rural' and 'rustic' by upgrading and modernising the facilities.
Points of Interest
While not a large village, the sheer amount of rusticity available in Hall means that there's a great deal for tourists to see.
The Village Well
Don't expect your classic high stone well with thatched roof and quaint bucket. Instead you have a cairn with a plaque marking the reopening of the well, a six inch high wall1 and a steel grid to stop children from falling in.
Memorial Avenue of Trees
After the World War I, trees were planted to commemorate each of the 17 young men of the Hall district who served in that War. Every one has a plaque next to it with the soldier's name. The two cypress trees located either side of the original gateway are in memory of the two who died in active service. A number of the trees have died but are being replaced with another of the same species; sort of like 'Grandad's old Axe'
Hall Premier Store and Post Office
In the beginning was a store and it contained a post office. Then the store was demolished and a new one was built along with a new post office. Then the post office moved to yet another new building across the street. Then the post office returned to the bosom of the new store. Thus the Wheel of Life turns.
It's a typical store with the usual range of goods and services. The post office resembles pretty much any other in that it will give you almost every service you could want but makes the process of posting your letters as difficult as possible.
Hall, or at least the Hall District has three churches. One is in Hall, one is just outside Hall, and one is over the border in New South Wales.
Located in Hall is St Michael and All Angels Anglican Church. It was built in 1941 and dedicated in 1948. It contains an unusual feature: one of its stained glass windows depicts two eucalyptus trees to commemorate the deaths of two young local people who died in motor accidents. The church bell is hung outside on a wooden frame and wakes non-church goers up every Sunday.
Just outside the village is St Francis Xavier Catholic Church, built from locally-quarried bluestone granite in a Neo-Gothic style.
A few kilometres over the border, and definitely not in walking range, is the Wattle Park Uniting Church, again made of bluestone granite.
Hall Primary School
The original school building was built in 1911, but now houses a museum of historic school artifacts.
Sportsground and Showground
Shows were conducted annually on the showground from 1925 until 1964 when they moved to Exhibition Park in Canberra. With a pavilion and barbecue area the site is popular for large functions and is the site for a regular market on the first Sunday of each month.
Lots of Old Houses
Those of particular note are:
Built in 1901 from rammed earth. It is one of the oldest surviving buildings in the area.
Built in the early part of the 20th Century, it was originally weatherboard but has since been extended and clad in 'hardiplank'
Another weatherboard cottage also recently extended and reclad.
Built in 1907 to replace one which burned down in 1984. The walls are of 'ashlar block', composed of local crushed rock, sand and cement.
- Lavender Cottage
Weatherboard cottage transported to Hall in 1960. It was one of several from a settlement on Acton peninsular built in 1927 to house those working on Old Parliament House.
The original building, built in 1897. Now the same block also contains an Art Gallery built in the 1970s.
Early 20th Century weatherboard.
- Rochford's House
Built in 1926 and has had little alteration since.