Grand dame shines again
IF buildings were people she would be Jeetho’s grand old dame.
Central to the tiny hamlet’s identity, the Jeetho Hall – which was renovated and reopened at a ceremony last Friday, after a $27,000 cash injection from the State Government and South Gippsland Shire Council – is as good as new again.
“If the hall goes, Jeetho goes,” Jeetho Hall committee of management president Greg McGrath told The Star.
“Our school is at Coal Creek. I remember the station being here and a few other houses, but the hall is the heart of Jeetho. So many people have moved into the area on small blocks. A lot of those people have driven what has happened here today.
“Previously there were no children and the families were older. But all the new ones with their five acre blocks – which everyone doesn’t think much of – are the communities that keep some of these projects alive.”
The hall, which was built in 1892, is the only surviving building from the era.
“If you go and have a look around, it really takes you back to when you were really young. The fixtures in this hall are second to none. I think this community should feel absolutely proud of itself for the work it’s embarked upon,” council mayor Cr Kieran Kennedy told the throngs of people who gathered for the opening.
“There has been a lot of ups and downs in the process, but the end result has been really worthwhile. I’d like to congratulate everyone who’s had a part in this. It’s been a fantastic outcome and really signals the strength of rural communities.”
Mr McGrath told the crowd that he believed the building, with a classic outdoor dunny, would attract much interest from television and film producers.
“More importantly, this will be a great building that our community can use again,” he said.
He gave special thanks to past president Ivan Thomson and predecessor Brian Simpson.
Representing Deputy Premier Peter Ryan was Parliamentary Secretary for Regional and Rural Development Damian Drum.
The former Freemantle Football Club coach said that being from the north of the state he was forced to ask “where?” when told he was to venture out to Jeetho.
“I did not expect to see something as beautiful as what I’m standing in front of today. This building is quite special. I think the people involved who have driven this project should be quite proud,” he said.
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