The Broad Bay Community Centre Committee administers and maintains the Broad Bay Hall and grounds through its regular meetings. Committee members voluntarily provide the energy and knowhow for many projects, and the necessary fundraising for general running costs. In recent years events have included community dinners, auctions, dance classes, a garage sale, plays, etc.
The Hall is available for hire to any group or resident of Broad Bay. For instance: the Broad Bay Bowling Club met here regularly; local groups hold regular committee meetings in the hall or Etheridge Rooms; Broad Bay School puts on plays, quiz nights, end of year ceremonies, etc.; individuals hold birthday parties, weddings and funerals there; and a “weekly sampler event” of activities livened up Winter 2016!
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Broad Bay, on the Otago Peninsula, is formed of two bays, Broad Bay and Turnbull’s Bay (originally Smith’s Bay), in the shadow of the Harbour Cone. Wandering Maori used the Bay in the past, with cooking ovens on the slopes, whares on the shore, and place names. The first Crown Grant Sections were taken up by European settlers in the 1860s, mostly for family farms: by 1884, there were 19 dairy farmers, and an average attendance of 26 at the Broad Bay School (founded in 1877).
William Larnach used the Bay to offload effects and materials for the building of his ‘Castle’, transporting them up the hill to his ‘Camp’ on a bridle track which became ‘Camp Rd’. The early farmers would boat their produce ‘up the river’ to Dunedin; when the area became a holiday playground around the turn of the century, many Dunedin people came back ‘down the river’ to spend their festival days or holidays.
Some of Dunedin’s leading families built holiday homes. Many a time the Harbour ferries would be full to overflowing, especially when attending the New Year Regattas, held for many years. The ferries also had the job of delivering the growing Peninsula population to and from work in the city. Wharves were constructed at Ross Point and at the present site, the first being a ‘short wharf, followed by the ‘long wharf, which went away out into the channel: it was a long, long walk on a wet day.
The road was completed in pieces, using prisoners from the Land Wars in the North Island, Chinese Coolie gangs, and road workers. The stone wall is a continuing tribute to their skill.
Weir ran the ferry Moerangi until 1909, when she was taken over by the Peninsula Ferry Co Ltd,
of which Weir was an initial director.
The community store was on the corner of Harington Point Rd and James St (now Portobello Rd and Clearwater St). It was developed into a 2-storey shop in 1925, which later had petrol pumps attached at the front, and a bakery on the side. It finally ceased trading as a store in 1971. This above shows a crowds outside the store on a busy regatta day.