This page is dedicated to Michael ‘Mick’ Brown. Michael was a skilled artist, generous and great friend to me while at Our Lady’s Mount. He was a strong supporter of the YCW Hall, assisted establish the Sunday dances (Record Hop), The YCW Balls and the various activities held at the hall.

He met his poignant, ignominious demise bringing great sadness to his family and his friends.


1961 An extension committee of the Young Christian Workers (Y.C.W.) was established to build a centre for youth at Mundingburra.  The hall, which became known as “The Shack”, was opened in August 1961.  It was remodelled around 2006 and is now part of the Mundingburra Childcare Centre. 


His Lordship Bishop Dr Hugh Edward Ryan D.D.

A real Gentleman and a forgiving, kind understanding man.

The Concept drawing of the Y.C.W.

 The opening of the YCW Hall August 1961 

The Young Christian Workers Hall, Townsville

Cardinal Joseph Cardijn, who died in 1967, was the worldwide founder of the Young Christian Workers’ Movement (YCW) and Father F. Lombard of Melbourne introduced the Movement into Australia . On September 1959 the name of the National Catholic Girls Movement (N.C.G.M.) was changed to the Young Christian Workers (Girls) Movement (YCW).  Girls from all Townsville branches of the YCW gathered at St. Mary’s, West End, in April 1960 where they received their new YCW badges. From 30 April to 2 May 1960 the first State Conference and Council of the Young Christian Workers were held at Range College in Rockhampton.  In 1961 the State Conference was held at St. Patrick’s College, Townsville.

On Saturday 19 August 1961 the YCW Youth Centre on Ross River Road, Mundingburra, Townsville, was blessed and opened by Bishop H. E. Ryan.  Designers and supervisors of construction were Messrs Ariotti and Norman, Townsville.  Father Steve Shannon ably supervised the Sunday Dances and events at the hall. He was a kind, polite gentleman who related well to the young people. 

In 1961 an extension committee of the YCW was established to build a centre for youth at Mundingburra.  The YCW hall, which much later became known as ‘The Shack’, was opened in August 1961.  Further extensions were added in1963 including a refrigerator and an upgrade of the sound system. For the first time, from 16 August to 20 August 1965, a National Conference of the YCW was held in the YCW Hall. Also in that year Father William Ross was appointed director of the YCW and the Young Christian Students (Y.C.S.).  He remained in that position until 1969.  

Many balls had been held at the YCW Hall. However, it was out growing itself and on 15 July 1967, the YCW Ball was held at the University Refectory Hall, Pimlico Campus. Again on 27 July 1968 the Annual YCW Ball was not held at the YCW Hall but at the Queens Hotel, Townsville.  The Church’s attitude was changing to hold the YCW Ball at venue where alcohol was accessible.

 The YCW Ball 1965 - Night off for The Arctics L:R Michael Brown, Anne Reeves, Michael Tracey, Jennifer Lambert, Lyn Ringuet, Frank Gough. 

 During this time from a personal perspective, my band The Arctics  had broken up and I had received notice that I had been conscripted in the Australian Defence Force. Jenny and  I married in the Sacred Heart Cathedral on 30 April 1966 and our beloved daughter Hélène was born on 25 December 1966. We were now married folk to whom the military had proved a great burden. We returned to Townsville but it had changed. It was now an ‘Army town’ and we relocated to Sydney. 

In September 1967 the YCW organised a ‘Walk-a-thon’ from Townsville to Bluewater Creek raising money for the movement and the Sub-Normal Children’s Welfare Association. To assist its involvement among the youth of the Diocese, the Combined Executive of the YCW acquired an office on the second floor of the Australian Estates Chambers, 17 Denham Street, Townsville.  Ms Ellen Harrison who arrived in Townsville in November 1966 as an extension worker of the YCW movement, became a permanent worker in the Diocese with her headquarters at the YCW Office. Ms Harrison organised a training weekend for YCW Girls’ Groups at the Presbyterian Youth Camp on Magnetic Island in November 1967.  Ellen returned to Brisbane in November 1967 after working for twelve months in the Townsville Diocese. She was replaced in early 1968 by Ms Margaret Byrne from Brisbane. Late in December Ms Byrne returned to her Brisbane home.

On 12 and 13 October 1968 the YCW held a Leaders’ Training Weekend on Magnetic Island.  To discuss:

·       the problems of school leavers;

·       the employment of a full time worker for the Boys’ movement;

·       publicity for the Accommodation Service for girls that had established in Townsville. 

In 1968 members of  YCW groups from Ayr, Home Hill and Townsville travelled to Ingham for their annual social and sports weekend.  On Saturday night, a dinner dance was held at the Rainbow Room.  After a Mass on Sunday morning sports day was held at the Cardinal Gilroy College Sports Oval followed by a barbeque.

 The Annual Diocesan Council of the YCW was held in the James Cook University, Ross River Plains, Townsville, on 3 and 4 February1968. The loved YCW Hall was not used.

In 2006 youth entertainment took second place and a venue precious to the memory of many persons of the era was converted the Mundingburra Childcare Centre.  Parts of the dance floor remains visible within the structure.

 Niki 'Very Fine' Keyatta at the sound console. The setup was two Labcraft turntables, a custom built mixer and amplifier. Speakers boxes lined the both sides of the hall. 
 A member of the YCW, Anne Reeves (Secretary, Mater Hospital, Townsville). 
 Another member of the YCW Jenny Lambert nursing a paitent at the Mater Hospital, Townsville.  
 A member of the YCW at his workplace
 Sunday Night Dance with The Arctics. 
 Sunday Night Dance with The Arctics. 


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