In January 2007, Gial searched the real estate sites on the Internet and found a church for sale in Allambie Heights - a suburb we had often thought would be a good, central spot to live!
Built as a Methodist Church in 1960 (at which time Wayne was living as a 9 year old at the bottom of the hill), it consisted of the church plus two outside toilets. The adjacent hall (10 square metres with a kitchen in the corner) was added 10 years later. In 1977 it became part of the new Uniting Church and then specifically, a few years ago, a Tongan parish. It was put on the market in 2006 so that the Tongan congregation could contribute towards the building of a large Sydney-wide Tongan church elsewhere.
After a gruelling, 6 month process, we finally purchased it and moved in on 23rd August, 2007. We slept in the church's storeroom, used the minister's room as our kitchen/laundry and had one of the outside toilets turned into a shower. Architect Colin Filmer drew up plans to turn the hall into a two storey home and Council approval was given before Christmas. However, it was to be another 6 months before a builder (Petar Pasalich - Kevin & Glenny's neighbour) was found and building began on 24th July 2008 and was completed ready for the opening concert in June 2009.
Grand Opening of Humph Hall - The official opening of Humph Hall took place at Winter Solstice - Sunday 21st June 2009.
Concerts - The first Loosely Woven concert, 'The Colour of Prudence', took place on Sunday 19th July 2009 to a standing room only crowd. See here for details & photos.
See related photos etc. on the old Humph Hall web site.
Chalwin Castle - Humph Hall is not the first time that a performance space has been established as part of a private home.
In the 1950s Vivian Chalwin, a wealthy businessman, began the gradual construction of Chalwin Castle, his home in Shellbank Avenue, Cremorne which included private 300 seat theatre which was used as a venue for chamber music performances staged by Musica Viva and other music organisations. Among those who performed there were Dame Joan Sutherland and Roger Woodward, Pete Seeger and The Renaissance Players (of which Wayne was a member).
Around 1982 the ABC made this 10 minute documentary about Chalwin Castle which provides a brief glimpse into the grand residence. Although it was demolished in 1993, Chalwin Castle remains in the memories of those patrons and artists that were lucky enough to go there. Here is a small book of Chalwin Castle photos finishing with a few taken by me during the Renaissance Players visit.