Community bands together to ensure future of country hall
BILL Kearney still remembers the vital role community halls played in society 30 years ago.
After witnessing the closure of country halls, including at Redgate and Byee, he is determined to do what he can to protect Cloyna Hall's future.
To do this, Mr Kearney, members of the hall committee, the Murgon Lion's Club and the Cloyna Fire Brigade are organising a new event at the hall - the Cloyna Trail Ride.
Mr Kearney said the purpose of the event was to give the community an opportunity to come together in a family friendly atmosphere.
It's also unique.
"Every town hosts a country market,” Mr Kearney said.
"It's become a saturated area and we wanted to something different.
"It used to be a real culture to attend events at the hall and I think it's something we have lost.
"We need to keep finding ways to make the halls more viable and utilise the space.
"If it doesn't work, at least we tried.”
Mr Kearney said the upcoming event would also give residents the chance to connect, something he believed was vital in the bush.
"Neighbours used to look out for each other,” Mr Kearney said.
"Nowadays, it's hard to work out who your neighbours are.
"We received some really great feedback from our Australia Day event earlier in the year.
"We had people meet for the first time who lived 500m away from each other.
"They sat down and had a bit of chat about different things, which was amazing to see.”
Another factor the organisers considered carefully was the affordability of the ride.
"We wanted the price to be reasonable so families could afford to come to the event,” Mr Kearney said.
"Our aim is to make a little bit of money, but also put on a great day out for everyone to enjoy.”
On Saturday, October 12, riders will gather at the Cloyna Hall and set off on a 17.2km loop on the local trails.
The ride will run from 1-4.30pm, and when riders return they will be treated to a barbecue and live entertainment from 6pm as special guest Dennis Morgan takes the stage.
The entry price for riders is $10, and $5 for spectators.