Heritage is about the things from the past which
are valued enough today to save for tomorrow.

Rechabite Hall (Independent Order of Rechabites Hall (fmr), Commonwealth Trading Bank Store)

Rechabite Hall was erected in 1925 for the Independent Order of Rechabites (IOR), a friendly society which also promoted total abstinence from alcohol. Over its lifetime, the hall has played a significant role in the social life of Northbridge as a venue for balls, dance exhibitions, church services, conferences, annual meetings, school productions and an election polling station.

The Independent Order of Rechabites was founded in England in 1835 as part of the wider temperance movement to promote total abstinence from alcohol. It transformed into an organisation that provided benefits for the sick and bereaved, but still promoted abstinence. Members wishing to join IOR’s health fund were required to sign a pledge that they would never partake of alcohol.

Designed by architect Edwin Summerhayes, the two-storey building had a basement which could be leased to raise money for the society. Similarly, the ground floor had two shops for commercial leases, although presumably not for anyone selling beer and wine.

By the 1940s, Rechabite Hall had become Northbridge’s most popular dance hall, complete with new lighting for that purpose. Over the next few decades, it was used for a variety of public and entertainment purposes, before it slowly fell into disuse. Today there is a proposal to turn the former Rechabite Hall into a bar and live music venue, although drinking alcohol in the space would not have been to the liking of its original occupants.

Detailed Description

Rechabite Hall was erected in 1925 for the Independent Order of Rechabites (IOR), a friendly society which also promoted total abstinence from alcohol. Over its lifetime, the hall has played a significant role in the social life of Northbridge as a venue for balls, dance exhibitions, church services, conferences, annual meetings, school productions and an election polling station.

The Independent Order of Rechabites was founded in England in 1835 as part of the wider temperance movement to promote total abstinence from alcohol. It gradually transformed into a friendly society, an organisation that provided benefits for the sick and bereaved, but still promoted abstinence. The Order became active in Australia from 1843, first establishing itself in Tasmania before spreading to other states. Members wishing to join IOR’s health fund were required to sign a pledge that they would never partake of alcohol.

Designed by architect Edwin Summerhayes, the two-storey building had a basement which could be leased to raise money for the society. Similarly, the ground floor had two shops for commercial leases, although presumably not for anyone selling beer and wine.

The central entrance led to a staircase to the first floor, where the main hall was situated. Designed to accommodate 450 persons, there was also space for a later gallery which could seat another 150. Also on the first floor were the secretary’s office, members’ rooms, and the hall’s, cloak rooms and toilets.

The façade was designed on classical lines, with the “Ionic order predominating both in the exterior and interior scheme of decoration”. The Ionic order, distinguished by the scrolls on top of columns, was regularly used for public buildings such as libraries. The façade had a bluestone foundation, while the rest was faced with cement, with piers in marble.

The official opening was held on 9 May 1925, and was performed by the society’s ‘District Chief Ruler’ while members of the Order were requested to be in full regalia.

By the 1940s, Rechabite Hall had become Northbridge’s most popular dance hall, complete with new lighting for that purpose. Over the next few decades, it was used for a variety of public and entertainment purposes, before it slowly fell into disuse. Today there is a proposal to turn the former Rechabite Hall into a bar and live music venue, although drinking alcohol in the space would not have been to the liking of its original occupants.

Sunday Times 20 July 1924

West Australian 9 May 1925

Mirror 18 May 1946

Mirror 6 July 1946

Location