There can't be many people who know more about the Avenel War Memorial Hall than Mary Vearing.CHALPAT SONTI April 10, 2014 3:53am
Mary Vearing and Strathbogie Shire councillor Malcolm Little with a thank you from the hall committee. They are sitting in the "original" hall.
Mary Vearing’s grandson Mason probably summed it up best.
One day as a young school pupil a few years ago he was walking past the Avenel War Memorial Hall with some fellow students when he told them: ‘‘My Nana owns the hall’’.
Which wasn’t strictly true of course, but might as well have been. Mrs Vearing has an association with the building going back more than 60 years, including the past 30 in a variety of roles on the hall committee.
That has come to an end because she has stepped down from the committee. And it’s fair to say in those 60-odd years she has seen the hall come a long way.
It all began when as a 16-year-old she answered a call, almost reluctantly, from Harry White to play piano at a dance.
‘‘The pianist was sick and I said ‘I can’t’’ but I had a practice and that was it,’’ Mrs Vearing said.
Eventually her to-be husband John joined her and the couple became well known as far afield as Strath Creek, Puckapunyal, Costerfield and Rushworth, where they played. The Avenel dances would see regulars come from Yea and even Warragul.
The Vearings children could sometimes be spotted asleep behind the piano.
Back then the hall was basically what is now the annex on the eastern side. It hosted three balls a year, with supper served in a marquee outside.
‘‘They were wonderful nights,’’ Mrs Vearing said.
‘‘The suppers were so popular, there were three sittings and people quite often missed out (due to demand).’’
The Vearings eventually eased out of the music ‘‘business’’ and there hasn’t been any regular musical entertainment in Avenel since they stopped playing.
‘‘I had osteoporosis in an arm and I didn’t think I could do it any more,’’ she said.
‘‘One Christmas we decided we would have our last dance and that was it. It got very tiring at the end.’’
By then she had joined the hall committee (in 1981) and it had grown to what it is today. Mrs Vearing started off as treasurer before becoming booking clerk.
‘‘For a long time I did voluntary work but after a time the committee paid me $50/month,’’ she said.
‘‘The hall had to be kept tidy and inspected before and after each booking.’’
There were quite a few renovations — a new floor, kitchen cupboards and one unscheduled one when the front door was smashed — but Mrs Vearing remembers the biggest problem was an airconditioner.
‘‘Water leaked through the pipe and we had to sweep it out the side.’’
At one stage the committee was down to five people but things have been on the up since. Mrs Vearing took on the role of treasurer again, but stepped down last year for health reasons.
Mrs Vearing has also picked up her share of honours along the way — Citizen of the Year in the former Seymour Shire and also the first one in Strathbogie Shire in 1993 (which late husband John also picked up 10 years later) — but while she might not be directly involved with the hall any more, she is still keenly interested in it.
‘‘A lot of people don’t realise what a convenient hall we’ve got,’’ she said.
‘‘If we don’t use it, we’ll lose it. Over the years it has just sort of grown and we’ve had deb balls, weddings, funerals, everything in here.’’
Strathbogie Shire councillor Malcolm Little said there was a push for a major upgrade of the hall ‘‘because it needs it’’. This could be in the next couple of years.
Shepparton golfer Kyle Michel has set course records at Kialla and Mooroopna golf clubs in the past three weeks.
Yarrawonga Pigeons dynamo Craig Ednie has won his third consecutive and seventh in total Chronicle Award after another brilliant season in the Ovens and Murray Football League.
It has been a successful year for Bega Cheese, which reflects on Tatura Milk Industries, with chair Barry Irvin announcing recently that Bega Cheese’s normalised earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation was $55.7 million and normalised profit after tax of $22 million.
FORKLIFT driver Hayden Moore has a hairy issue, and a lofty ambition.
MORE than 50 years of regulation have taken their toll by reversing the natural flow patterns of the Campaspe.
CFA called to farm fire
Hundreds flock to Avenel to learn a thing or three.
Tocumwal Lions Club has plans to purchase the Bowling Club site for an aged care facility, which will only happen if the merger between the Tocumwal bowls and golf clubs proceeds.
THE Heathcote community is readying itself for the official opening of the Heathcote Health Primary Care redevelopment.
Three Cobram teens have been arrested by police after they allegedly stole tractors from Cobram and Tocumwal and caused about $30 000 in damage.
Rhinos make strong impression in MVCA’s division one comp.
Despite the hot and windy weather making it a rough start to last week’s Elmore Field Days, numbers on the third and final day were strong, event organiser Sam Watkins said.
Benalla banded together to raise $2000 for the Abolishing Injustice in the 21st Century (A21).
The News magazines are online - read high quality magazines in your time. Check in regularly for the latest editions.
Riverine Herald's well regarded locally produced magazines. They're now online, so you can read them whenever and wherever you like.
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.