There has been a recent renewal of energy and interest in revitalising the historic Bandon Grove School of Arts Hall about 10 kilometres north of Dungog. The School of Arts Committee aim to reconnect residents of the Bandon Grove area by making the hall relevant and refurbishing the building.
This has motivated a couple of get togethers of residents of the area, and friends, leading to funds being raised, events and workshops planned, renovations and additions to the hall organised, and importantly people working, learning and creating while socialising together.
People are enthusiastically volunteering their skills, labour and building materials to help renovate the 1933 building which has been the site of many Christmas celebrations, Balls, fundraising events, community meetings, weddings and craft group meetings etc over the years.
Old family photos and memorabilia relating to Bandon Grove are being scanned. Oral histories of older residents are being collected and shared through social media. A Back to Bygone Bandon Grove afternoon acknowledged the history of the School of Arts, honouring and preserving the hall’s history and past supporters.
Weekly art classes are taught by Alexandra Wade, there are regular craft group meetings and a Community Quilt is being sewn by local quilters. A Christmas pudding workshop where participants were taught a traditional local recipe, and candle and soap making workshops have been held. A creative writing workshop with Karen Crofts of the Hunters Writers Festival, and a Neural Knitworks art and information event are being planned. Dungog artist, Natalie Duncan, 2017 winner of the Newcastle Emerging Artist prize has been approached regarding the ceramic decoration of a new pizza oven.
Meetings of the School of Arts committee are open to the public and the next one will be held on Wednesday 6 June 2018 at 6pm. Anyone interested in becoming involved or wanting further information please contact Bruce Read 0490 048 190 or Alexandra Wade. Follow activities and learn about upcoming events on the Bandon Grove School of Arts Facebook page.
Top photo: Grasscutters playing at autumn family dance. Article and images courtesy of Anne Fisher.