THE local hall is one of the last remaining non-residential buildings in the small town of Mollongghip, acting as a hub for the community, east of Ballarat.
It’s where local residents meet each Saturday morning to pick up their newspapers, often staying for more than an hour to drink coffee and chat.
Now the once-derelict building is set to get its third facelift in seven years, thanks to a $20,000 grant from the state government.
The hall has long been important to the community of about 40 families, especially since the local school, pub and general store shut down.
Mollongghip-based writer, and publisher Gib Wettenhall said the hall had become more than just a structure, forming the nucleus of the township.
“This is all we’ve got,” he said. “This is a really small strung-out rural settlement. There’s a fire shed and there’s a tennis court and that’s it.”
The hall was built by a group of farmers in 1903 after another farmer donated the land.
Since then it’s weathered many storms, until it was on the verge of collapse in the mid 2000s, Mr Wettenhall said.
“We restored the exterior of the hall in 2005 because it was almost falling down. We got a $35,000 grant to do the roof and paint the exterior.
This grant has been provided as part of the Regional Growth Fund’s Putting Locals First program.
Member for Western Victoria David O’Brien announced the funding yesterday.
The refurbishment, which includes repainting the interior, polishing the floors and installing gas heating and fans, is expected to be completed by the end of the year.