Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR)
Travellers now have a vibrant new site to visit on the NSW Silo Art Trail, with a mural adorning the Quandialla Soldiers Memorial Hall drawing tourists to the town.
Like so many small townships in agricultural areas striving to support their community and keep services sustainable, Quandialla needed to find a way to attract visitors off the main roads and to spend time in the town. With a focus on building tourism opportunities, there was strong community support for a project that would encourage sightseers to come and support existing businesses, contributing to the economic prosperity of this small town.
Seeing an opportunity to build on the momentum created by the Silo Art Trail, the Quandialla Soldiers Memorial Hall Association (QSMHA) recognised the hall served as the perfect blank canvas to develop a large mural depicting the area’s history, development and to commemorate those who served in times of war.
Successfully securing funds through the Strengthening Rural Communities grant program, QSMHA commissioned Melbourne artist Simon White to design and paint a mural and paid for the hire of a cherry picker so higher areas of the building could be reached safely. The mural was completed in eight days and before the paint was dry created a buzz in the streets and on social media. QSMHA shared with FRRR that they are very grateful for the support and said, “Small grants are the only way groups can make projects like this a reality.”
The hall is now a landmark for the town’s main street and the grant has improved a key community venue for major events for the local community and surrounds. Along with drawing visitors to the town, the mural has also succeeded in capturing Quandilla’s history and local achievements, encouraging conversations, building awareness and strengthening community pride.
At the southern tip of the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia, Coffin Bay is a small town of about 600 people. Known around the world for its fresh oysters and beautiful fishing spots, Coffin Bay is a popular tourist destination. For years the town has relied on the Community Hall as a place where residents can gather and socialise. In the last few years, a long list of required repairs has meant that the Hall hasn’t been being used to its full potential.
Coffin Bay Progress Association wanted that to change. They act as a collective voice for the community to help sustain and maintain the values of their unique, relaxed, and caring residents. With a $5,914 Strengthening Rural Communities (SRC) grant funded by Australia Post, the Association has been able to kick off their six-stage upgrade and renovation plan for the hall. They used the SRC grant to fund the installation of a new hot water system and ceiling fans. The grant has also enabled them to update the men’s toilet facilities that were in much need of repairs.
The improvements have already seen the Hall host an array of activities and services for the community. For example, the renovations provided the opportunity for several Community Health services to be held under one roof. The town doctor, who needed to relocate due to SA Rural Health not renewing the lease of the practice, has been able to use the space to see patients and support the community. Additionally, mental health clinics and AA meetings have all moved to the hall as well.
Carol Fathers, president of the Coffin Bay Progress Association said, “We had an old storeroom which we were able to clear out and turn into a bright & cheerful clinic, everyone is happy.”
The Progress Association is happy to see works on their beloved Community Hall continue with hopes to tile their kitchen, plant a community garden, and create a men’s shed in the future. There are also plans to get local schools involved in painting a mural. The Community Hall has so much potential to help fight social isolation and boost the sense of community spirit for the residents of Coffin Bay.