When 86-year-old Lorraine Hatfull visited the renovated Warkworth Town Hall she was surprised to see the old ticket booth was still there.
Lorraine worked in the booth for four years, from 1945, when the hall was a movie theatre three nights a week. It was her first and only job when she left Auckland District School, just after World War II, when she was 15 years old. She earned 7/6d (about 76 cents) a night, working from 7pm to 9pm. The pictures cost 1/6d (16 cents) downstairs and 2/3d (23 cents) three upstairs.
“There were better seats upstairs!” she says.
The hall was also where she met Arthur, her husband-to-be, when she was 17.
“They played the same movie on a Friday and a Saturday, but he would turn up both nights,” Lorraine says.
After working in the one-person ticket booth she would serve ice cream in the interval. After the newsreel, she would watch the movie with Arthur. She remembers seeing Gone with the Wind and lots of westerns.
“We would go dancing after the movie on Saturdays. If it hadn’t been for the movies at the Town Hall, we probably would never have crossed paths.”
Lorraine got the job after babysitting for her neighbours and film operators, the Lovells.
She described the Town Hall as the social hub of Warkworth back then, with films playing every night to cater for the American troops stationed in the area. She remembers the Victory Party at the end of the war was celebrated at the hall, and she still has the programme from that night.
During the rest of her life, on a dairy farm in Woodcocks Road and raising three children, she would go to the hall for functions or events.
She says she was sad when there was talk of demolishing the hall and is pleased it has been restored.
“I don’t think we should demolish our history. I’ve got a lot of memories there.”