Historic Kamarooka hall reliant on Bendigo council for repairs

For the tiny town of Kamarooka, its historic hall is much more than a structure. 

Residents in the township are without a primary school, a general store, or a football or netball side.

The weathered timber unit, with its striking red roof, is the last vestige of a communal site in the town. 

“It’s what keeps us together,” Kamarooka mayor Helen O’Donoghue said. 

Birthday parties, dances and premiership balls have all been held at the structure, which was built in 1902. 

In a fortunate twist of fate, contractors brought in to update the hall’s kitchen found extensive structural damage to the hall’s roof, caused by termites.

A petition on behalf of the town’s 140 residents to replace damaged timbers within the roof was recently brought to the City of Greater Bendigo. 

Councillors will make a decision on remedial works, which have been valued at $30,000, at a council meeting on Wednesday. 

The petition, brought to council in August, reads: "Many members of the community fear that the delay in adequate repairs to our hall, as well as the many years of neglect to the facility may be part of a future plan to close it all together and would like to be formally informed of council’s intentions if this is the case. Therefore a speedy response would be greatly appreciated." 

The petition, which contained 37 signatures, suggested the town had received feedback from the city indicating roof repairs would be included in the 2017-18 financial year budget but “as to when has not been made clear”.

Former secretary of the Kamarooka hall Ken Ludeman said the original structure was built in 1902, added to in the form of a supper room in 1924, and finally, in 1935, a 15-foot extension on the end of the building was created. 

Since then, the hall has been neglected, but its history holds an affinity with all of Kamarooka. 

“It’s where we meet, we’ve got nowhere else,” Mr Ludeman said.

A report prepared for council recommends commencing structural works to replace the termite-damaged timbers within the roof space to ensure the building is safe “as soon as possible”. 

The report states a contractor, if approved by councillors on Wednesday, can be appointed by September, with works expected to take approximately six weeks and to be completed by mid to late November.