Image courtesy The Courier - Ali Smith
When Walgett Shire Council condemned the Burren Junction School of Arts Hall in 2015 the community refused to accept a future without the Hall - it had stood for 100 years, through World Wars, drought and the ebb and flow of the town's population. Sitting 51 km west of Wee Waa, with a population hovering around the 280 mark and a reliance on wheat, cotton and the medicinal magic of the mineral pool, the town of Burren Junction has long regarded the Hall as a symbol of prosperity and hope and now it represents persistence.
Restoring the Hall to its former glory involved working bees, volunteers, imagination, plans, crowd funding, and grants. A Community Futures Grant from the RASF resulted in a commercial-style kitchen in the Supper Room, essential in order to cater for events and provide much-needed fundraising opportunities. Combined with the overall restoration, including building repairs, air-conditioning, plumbing, lighting, and painting, the RASF Grant-funded kitchen has new flooring, stainless steel benches and sinks, new shelving, pantries, and is stocked with brand-new kitchen equipment.
The first test for the revitalised Burren Junction School of Arts Hall and the Supper Room kitchen was the CWA Flower Show held in September 2019. The CWA luncheon fed 180 diners throughout the day, with nary a complaint. Volunteers were thrilled by the professional feel of the kitchen, and the hungry hordes were incredibly satisfied by the catering.