Restoration of the beloved Old Bega Hospital must be high on the agenda after Sunday’s community open day.
Estimations put more than 2000 people through the gates at Sunday’s Raise the Roof Spring Festival on the grounds of the historic building, with close to $10,000 raised on the day!
Among the invited guests were John McKee and his wife Kerry, Bega Valley Shire Mayor Michael Britten, Liberal Member for Eden-Monaro Peter Hendy and federal Labor candidate Mike Kelly.
They were given a guided tour of the Old Bega Hospital’s burnt-out main building and the various outbuildings still in use by community groups – including the Bega Valley weavers, pottery group, community radio station Edge FM and the Bega Men’s Shed - before sitting down to a group lunch.
Organising committee spokesman Tim Whitaker said he felt the politicians would have been highly impressed with the community support on show at the event.
“Hopefully that influences their decision on financial support,” he added with a chuckle.
State MP Andrew Constance has already committed $500,000 to the roof and building restoration project, but at the time said the federal government needed to “get skin in the game” .
The plan is to restore the main building as a regional community and cultural centre.
The Raise the Roof spring festival incorporated a display of the Old Bega Hospital’s history, including photos and stories provided by locals capturing the memories of its bygone era.
It was also a family fun day with stalls, food, live music and entertainment.
Mr Whitaker said the response from the community was “fantastic”.
“The history display was busy all day and the number of stories about the old hospital that were shared was amazing,” he said.
“There were others who didn’t even know the old building was there but were just as fascinated.”
Mr Whitaker said membership of the Friends of Old Bega Hospital group doubled on the day and Edge FM was “blown away” by the support it received as well.
School competition winners
Local school students were invited to submit stories, artwork or multimedia referencing the history of the Old Bega Hospital.
Alice Stewart – (12 – 15 yrs) Media Winner for a DVD Movie “Memories of Old Bega Hospital” – Awarded by Dr Duncan Mckinnon.
Jordon A – (Year 7G Bega High) – 1st Prize for a Story - “Haunting the Ruins” – Awarded by Dr Patricia Salisbury
Taran Gross (Year 7G Bega High) – 2nd prize for Poetry – “The Old Bega Hospital” – Awarded by Dr Patricia Salisbury
Isabella Whitaker (Year 7G Bega High) – 1st Place for a Story – “The Diseases of Ghosts” – Awarded by Sapphire Coast Medical Practice
Scarlett Whitaker ( 11 Years) - - Highly commended for a Drawing and Story - Awarded by Sapphire Medical Practice.