ex-Salvation Army hall

A heritage offering with lots of soul at Leichhardt’s ex-Salvation Army hall

PHOTO: 54-56 Carlisle Street, Leichhardt. Photo: Supplied

The phrase “charity begins at home” took on a whole new meaning for the owners of this converted Salvation Army hall.

“When they first moved in, people would slide money under the door or leave donations out,” says Ben Southwell of Cobden & Hayson Annandale. “When people realised it was being used as a residence, the donations stopped pretty quickly.”

Though short-lived, the offerings were a sign of goodwill the Leichhardt community felt for this circa-1916 building, which still bears a facade sign beneath the gabled roof and plaque commemorating its opening.

Over the years, it has been used as everything from a respite community to a dance hall. The owners, who bought it from the Salvos for $200,000 in 2000, were determined to preserve the landmark for generations to come.

“When the owners bought it, it wasn’t with a vision of moving in,” Southwell says. “They started leasing it out to an antiques dealer. It also had a house attached to the back, which was subdivided and sold off.”

The antiques dealer moved out at a time when the owners were entangled in a complex development application for a new house in the eastern suburbs. Approval was eventually granted but the process sapped their enthusiasm for going ahead with the build.