Fawcett Hall committee members outside in front of the Fawcett Hall Public Library

Photo above left to right: Brian Thompson (DELWP), Sam Hicks, President of Fawcett Hall; Sandra Macalister, Treasurer; Emily Voogt (DELWP); Joy Burchell, committee member; Ian Newman, Secretary and Clare Kiely, DELWP.

Fawcett Hall is 14 kilometres northwest of Alexandra in the Shire of Murrindindi. Stony Creek runs nearby.

Part of our hall building dates back to its establishment in 1882. Originally the hall served as a Mechanics Institute and Public Library (once known as the Spring Creek Free Library) and later as a primary school.

It has been a difficult time for Fawcett Hall since late 2019. We had so much success earlier in 2019 with a bushfire fundraiser and other fundraising events. We were able to progress with the brick paving to the end of the ramp and had big plans to continue the paving further.

Jenny Biddle with a guitar in front of an audience outside the Fawcett Hall performing at the bushfire fundraiser in February 2020

Photo above:  Folk blues and roots musician Jenny Biddle at the Fawcett Hall bushfire fundraiser in February 2020.

We then found our income cut dramatically both with Covid-19 shutting the hall, preventing bookings, and also the loss of our long-term hirer of our commercial kitchen.

Fortunately, we were supported by DEWLP with a Covid relief grant and Murrindindi Council has also helped us out at various times, including with a “Quick Response” grant to replace the controller on our UV Water Filter.

We were able to take a few bookings in late 2020 and early 2021 but with on and off closures these were moved from date to date and some cancelled. We closed the hall, turned off the power, cancelled the phone and hunkered down.

Our bank account was getting dangerously low, so we looked for ways to generate some income. We were fortunate to have some garden art donated by Neville Wise, jams donated by Jan Young, and plants donated by various people including Sue Pain and myself.

Via on-line sales these items brought in $1,400. A couple of committee members offered to buy our stock of wine and drinks that we hadn’t used due to event cancellations. Every little bit of cash helped keep us afloat.

Our submission to DELWP’s Solar on Public Buildings program was successful which has assisted in reducing our electricity costs. We also received an unexpected and very welcome furniture restoration grant for our wooden pews from the Furniture History Society (Australasia).

And the good news continued with a very generous cash donation so we can replace our dishwasher eaten by rodents.

Big thanks also to Foundation Murrindindi for a Fawcett Muster grant to put on a community BBQ. And congratulations to Les Perry and his helpers for bringing in $1,160 from the Wood Auction in May 2022.

We are now gearing up for our next fundraiser, the Open Garden Event on 22-23 October 2022.

We are hoping for big attendance from locals in and around Alexandra, and any garden lovers from further afar would be most welcome.

For more information see our Fawcett Hall Facebook page.

This story is an edited extract of Sandra Macalister’s Treasurer’s Report, which was included in the “Additional Comments” section of Fawcett Hall’s 2021-22 Annual Return to DELWP.

Page last updated: 30/09/22