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Snapshot in Time: Dancing reflections and the magic of Geraldton’s Town Hall, according to Niel Bertelsen

Niel BertelsenGeraldton Guardian
Niel and Janice Bertelsen with their two children Karen and Julie at the Geraldton Town Hall.
Camera IconNiel and Janice Bertelsen with their two children Karen and Julie at the Geraldton Town Hall. Credit: Courtesy of Niel Bertelsen

The following is an extract from Niel Bertelsen’s Oral History.

I am lucky. I danced with my wife. I danced with my two daughters and I danced with my granddaughter. So I’m a lucky man.

When my daughters were tiny (well before the arrival of my son) they were in the carrier baskets and taken to the Town Hall and put in a bassinet under the stage.

We spent many, many, many hours at the Town Hall with the dancing through the 60s and 70s, hours and hours and hours.

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We would help with the Easter Convention that would come up from Perth, the Easter Northern Star Dancing Championships and then our own medals each year in there as well. You would have to go down to the Town Hall from your own place to rehearse because each dance floor is different in size and dimensions and you would have to familiarise yourself with the room.

The floor was good because it was built the old fashioned way with the bearers underneath so it was good to dance on. It was an old fashioned timber floor whereas these days they put parquetry on to cement, concrete or something like that and there’s no give.

When floors were built in the old days they were on bearers which has a little bit of give when you dance on them. When you dance on parquetry or other stuff that is glued to the concrete it’s very hard on your feet and ankles and your whole body actually. It jars. The Town Hall floor was great to dance on.

The Town Hall 1907-1984 exhibition opening night will be held at the Geraldton Regional Art Gallery on Friday, September 30, and is a ticketed event. The exhibition will remain open until November 20.

Snapshots is an initiative of the Geraldton Regional Library. For more information, or to donate a historical photo or slide, contact 9956 6659 or library@cgg.wa.gov.au

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