The establishment of a settlement at Woodbury was well underway by 1880, most of the farmland around the area had been taken up and was being developed. The population of the district was greater than it is today and the needs of the growing community needed to be acted upon.
There is no record of the election of the first Domain Board but minutes show their first meeting was held on March 2nd 1880 at the Woodbury Hotel. At this meeting it was proposed that a generous amount of land be set aside to be used as an education reserve and recreational area for the community.
In total some 55 hectares of unfenced treeless tussock land was earmarked for the project. To raise the money required for development much of the land was leased out with some of it planted in trees.
Over the years that followed the Board judiciously used the income from rents received to carry out their planned improvements and help with ongoing maintenance. Although this was a slow process, in the long run it has proved a sustainable one and in recent years the Board has had sufficient income from these farm rentals and the sale of matured timber to carry out the necessary work renewing fences, piping a water supply, replanting of trees and the upgrading of its buildings as well as its sports facilities.
The charming tin clad Woodbury Hall we see today was built as a Coronation Library Hall in 1911. Trees were felled and the timber cut for use in building the hall with the surplus wood being on sold. The official opening was on December 14th the same year. One of the first major items purchased was a grand piano which lasted till it was replaced with a more robust upright piano in 1963.
This rustic country Hall has had been enjoyed by many users and has had many additions approved and instigated by the Board as ongoing improvements over the years. Power and lighting were installed in 1925 and a Ball was held to celebrate the switching on of the electricity.
It still remains well used by the local community and is available to be hired out for functions including country weddings and the like.
Most of my notes about the history came from the Woodbury Domain and Cemetery boards’ booklet.
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