Created By: Uki and South Arm Historical Society
Uki Mechanics' Institute was built in 1904 and is the oldest standing building in Uki. It was built on a reserve for travelling stock with donated material from local farmers, and local saw-millers cut the timber.
The Uki School of Arts was built in 1911 on land adjacent to the Mechanics' Institute. The frame consists of several species of hardwood timber donated by local land owners, financed by district residents, and with an overdraft of £700. In 1915 the dedication of the Uki School of Arts was revoked and replaced by a Dedication for a Literary Institute.
There are no records of when the library and reading room were opened, but it was in operation during WW1. The library also supplemented the Uki school, especially during WWI. Locals could read books, newspapers and farming gazettes etc. In 1923, it cost 3pence a fine for an overdue library book. The last mention of the library was in the late 1930s.
In 1924 the halls were joined together, and the façade was put on the front of the small Hall. It has acted as a centre for social, religious and educational activities for over 100 years.
In 1914 roller skating was held every Friday night. This ceased two years later due to the wooden floor being damaged. Nellie O'Sullivan remembered when she lived in Blacksmiths Lane, she could hear people skating in the Hall of a night. Roller skating began again for a short time during WW2.
Ella Mitchell's violin story: There was one chap who used to always come down here and bring his violin. It was out of tune, of course, poor old chap, he thought he could play. When he'd get to the door, the door-keeper'd look at him and he'd say "Orchestra" and he'd have his violin case and he'd walk straight in and he didn't have to pay. The musicians said that they had a job to keep him away from the microphone at the end when they played "God Save the King".
The Hall was initially lit by Kerosene Lamps. Gaslights then electricity were installed in the Hall in November 1948 at the cost of £42/2/6, lights cost £16/11/-.
Travelling picture shows often used the Hall. A part of the chimney used to remove the extreme heat from the projector is still in place in the main Hall.
The Uki R.S.L. met in the Hall from its inception in 1920, and the Hall houses R.S.L. memorabilia, photos, and records of the South Arm military history from the Boer war to the present day.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Historic Uki Village - Walking Tour
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