IT IS widely used and much loved, but the Fish Creek Memorial Hall, built in 1930, has seen better days. The volunteers on the hall’s committee of management are keen to make improvements. In order to identify project priorities, they have prepared a Master Plan, working with Michelle Harris from Hands On Community Solutions, with technical advice from local design consultant Andrew Stacey.
In a public presentation last Wednesday, hall secretary Catherine McGlead and president Kerry Spokes presented the Master Plan to South Gippsland Shire Council, who helped fund the plan. They urged Council to support the committee in the search for funding opportunities.
They pointed out that the hall is quite significant in the streetscape of the Fish Creek township. It is recognised as a key meeting place and community asset in a town which is well known for its strong cultural links.
The first Fish Creek Hall was built in 1900 and countless balls and weddings were held there. The current hall, built as a World War I memorial in 1930, serves many purposes, being a venue for meetings, community events, funerals, church services and school concerts. It is regularly used by the Prom Coast Film Society and for yoga classes and is a venue for the Tea Cosy and Sea Change festivals. The hall also houses a charity shop where the profits go to funding further development work on the enhancement of hall facilities.
The hall committee has a significant financial contribution saved, largely from the well-patronised opportunity shop, which has a major sale each summer. This money will be used in grant applications which require the funds sought to be matched.
Most urgent, according to the Master Plan, is the need to improve the hall’s drainage. Also needed is an internal access ramp, an improved pathway up the side, floor repairs, paintwork, improvements to storage and improved energy efficiency.
The Master Plan concludes that the hall is a well used community asset and the volunteer committee of management should be congratulated for doing such an excellent job maintaining and protecting it over the years.
“The committee should work through the project list or Master Plan actions as resources, funding and support is available,” concludes the report. “Of most importance is the need to complete urgent repair works to the floor and correct the drainage and ventilation issues to prevent further damage. Otherwise there are a series of projects for the committee to work towards.” These are costed and prioritised.
“Halls play a vital role in communities and we need to work with hall committees because of that vital role,” said Cr Andrew McEwen, thanking the Fish Creek Hall committee members for their presentation.
The mayor, Cr Jeanette Harding, said she was quite confident the hall committee would be successful in its bid for major funding for the hall, just as the committee of the Yanakie Hall has been.