Cobargo celebrates 130 years of the School of Arts Hall

For a 130 year old, Cobargo School of Arts Hall still knows how to throw a good party.

The Cobargo community celebrated the milestone with a night of film, food, music and dancing. 

The recorded and personal histories of the hall were shared with visitors to reflect on the central role the hall has played for Cobargo since it was constructed in 1880.

June Tarlington said the hall was one of the first buildings to be constructed in the town, designed by local builder George Martin – 130 years later, there are still builders of the Martin name working in Cobargo.

Ms Tarlington celebrated the hall as the glue that held community together. The social life of the town was not only at the events in the hall, but in the many hours preparing, setting up, cooking and packing down and cleaning after them. 

The crowd reflected on how many volunteer hours went into the show balls, film nights, deb balls and art and exercise classes.

Others stood up to share their experiences and memories of the hall, which ranged from the simplicity of slicing carrots in the hall’s kitchen, to momentous events such as weddings.

Local Spencer Andrew said a recent solar powered art show pushed the hall into the future.

Fourth generation Cobargo resident Robyn McVeity fondly remembered the show ball as the main form of entertainment for the town, with good food and tea on offer, and the love of dancing on those evenings. 

On the 130th anniversary of the hall, not much has changed. Guests sat down for a dinner of curries and cakes in the dining room before taking to the dance floor for the rest of the evening. 

A raffle was held on the night with a different approach to fundraising. Rather than having local shops donate from their stock again, the hall committee asked the community to donate items from their homes instead. 

This created a great variety of prizes, from mountain bikes to lawnmowers, homemade blankets, baskets and even some camel manure. 

Dancing was fueled by the music of the Quaama Choir and a talented collection of local musicians.