Tatyoon

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Hall project a focus in draught

Despite the challenges of a decade-long drought, the upgrade of the Tatyoon Hall in 2007 gave the Tatyoon community something positive to focus on, according to locals involved with the project.

“Financially it was probably the hardest time to be fundraising and to be spending time away from our businesses, but there was no backing out once we’d started,” said Greg Joyce, a member of the Tatyoon Recreation Reserve Committee.

Greg, together with fellow committee members Geoff Phillips, Heidi Astbury and Kevin Fitzpatrick, formed a sub-committee in 2005 to focus on the hall upgrade.

The committee has been supported by about 50 local volunteers along the way.

All were keen to improve the valuable community facility, which was built in the 1920s and hadn’t been upgraded in about 25 years.

During that time it had been in almost constant use by the local football, netball and tennis clubs, the CFA and Red Cross (as a refuge area) and the general community for functions.

The 2007 overhaul included the installation of a new Colourbond roof, internal and external painting, brand new kitchen and appliances, and a new cool room. The bar was extended into the main hall area and extra storage space was created. The renovations were capped off with attractive garden landscaping outside.

Greg said the project started with a simple vision to upgrade the hall’s kitchen. The committee did a letter-box drop to the local community asking for funds and ended up raising an impressive $16,000.

Government funding came about by chance. Ararat Rural City Council’s Manager Community Development, Mandy Noble was in Tatyoon meeting with the community on a separate matter when she learned about the project.

She helped source $140,000 under Regional Development Victoria's Small Towns Development Fund and Council contributed a further $5,000. The community added a further $4,000 in funds and received $70,000 of in-kind donations.

“It was great to get the government funding,” said Greg. “We were confident our application would be viewed favourably as there had been so much work done in the past. I’m enormously proud of it, and it’s hard not to drive in there and think, ‘that looks good’.”

Kevin Fitzpatrick agrees.

“Originally we were only going to upgrade the kitchen and it ended up being the entire hall,” he said. “It was $27,000 alone just to do the new roof, so to be able to get the big dollars to do the entire project in one go was great.”

Kevin said he personally enjoyed the project management experience, working with fellow community members who were “good communicators and highly effective in their skills”.

“In the middle of a drought, this project gave us something positive to work towards,” he said. “The old hall wasn’t very user-friendly so the new facility has really given the town a buzz.

“It’s good to do your part. Rural areas are really under the pump, so if people are keen to put something back into their community, projects like this can really make a difference.”

The upgrade of the Tatyoon Hall is one of many projects outlined in the Tatyoon Community Action Plan compiled by local residents in conjunction with Ararat Rural City Council.

Other projects on the action list include improvements to the playground and netball club facilities, streetscaping, and a new entrance to the cemetery.