FILE PHOTO – Looking forward to restoring the Long Plain Soldiers Memorial Hall to its former glory, volunteer Ben McCosker, left, Trust Secretary Suzanne Baker and President Charles Baker tell Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall their plans for the future.
Tuesday, 5 May 2020
THE historic Long Plain Soldiers Memorial Hall will once again stand tall with Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall today announcing a $72,763 State Government grant to fully restore the building in time for its 100th birthday, in 2022.
Mr Marshall said there had been limited use of the hall in recent times, however a group of local volunteers led by Charlie and Suzanne Baker was now working to restore the grounds and the dilapidated building.
“The Long Plain Hall really is a treasure and an important piece of local history,” Mr Marshall said.
“Built in 1922, it stands as a solitary reminder of those brave men and women from the district who left their families to fight for king and country during the Great War and trees were planted at the hall for the men of the district who lost their lives.
“This building which can seat up to 300 and has a stage and kitchen area which should be accessible to the entire community.”
Mr Marshall said that neglect of the building for many years had seen it develop a dangerous 45 degree lean making it unstable, with termites also causing damage to one of the old outbuildings.
“In its current state, the hall is unsafe to hold gatherings and the steps leading to the hall’s front entrance have become unstable, which means a single staircase at the side of the building is the only access,” Mr Marshall said.
“This grant will rectify both those problems, with contractors from Bundarra undertaking works to straighten the building and strengthen its internal piers, bringing it up to engineering standards.
“The hall’s front stairs will be fully replaced with an additional ramp to be added to increase the level of public access.
“This project has been a labour of love for members of the Long Plain Hall and Recreation Ground Trust and I’m delighted to say that the building will soon be back to its former glory.”
President of the Trust Charles Baker said the Long Plain Public Hall was an important piece of local history which should be enjoyed by all.
“Since becoming a member of the trust in 2018, it has been the dream of my wife and me to bring the hall and its grounds back to what they were in 1922,” Mr Baker said.
“In those days the hall was a much-loved social hub of the community, but recently, due to lack of use and maintenance, it has fallen into a state of disrepair.
“With its kitchen, stage and space to seat more than 100 people, I believe, with a bit of work, the hall can again safely host birthday parties, bush dances and public events.
“Work to improve the site has already begun with the trust using funding from the State Government to treat a termite infestation in nearby outbuildings and hire tradies to upgrade the internal plumbing and electrical wiring.
“Being able to hire out the hall for events will mean the trust will finally have an income. This will allow us to maintain and undertake running repairs on this old beauty, ensuring it never again falls back into its existing state.
“I want to thank Adam for his support over the past year and because of the various grants, the hall will get to celebrate its 100th birthday looking its very best.”