Many more enquiries were made but by this time his fate was clearly sealed, Jim was being given "the old run around". Finally on September 11 the Premiers Department advised Jim that the Finance Department wants more information and a letter is to be sent immediately detailing the information required. The letter requested further changes to the plans asked for more information on the costs etc of the project and finally said that Jim is unable to supervise the job as he is not a registered builder. About this time Jim went to Darwin for a holiday (no wonder). But the perpetrators of this "Public Service" had not reckoned on the mettle of their opponent. Back at the site work preparing the building for renovation continued. The Pony club agreed that our club could use their power poles for-electricity to the clubhouse provided we put on some free entertainment for them at one of their socials. No problems, that's our business. Meanwhile, working bees had continued, the mowing season was back on us again.
After Jim's return it was time to bring in the Big Guns. Jim approached Paul Clauson. In farm yard terms "the cat was now among the pigeons". Apparently there were some internal problems requiring executive adjustment or perhaps the enactment of special legislation to clear the matter. Eventually to cut a long and bloody story short Jim was granted an exemption from being a registered builder and things started to speed up. On 3 November 1989 Jim was advised by the Premiers Dept that the funds should be through within 2 weeks and on 28th November he received a verbal go-ahead after he had delivered a verbal threat to "go to the minister" again.
This verbal go-ahead was all that Jim needed, it was a bit like letting a very tightly wound rubber band go. Work was commenced in a frenzy of activity. The concrete slab was poured by a sub-contractor on 4th of December, timber was ordered for the pergola and verandah and those projects commenced on 11th of December. Enthusiasm stirred up among the members, working bees were better attended, the club house "looked like a goer". Power was connected on 19 January and after Jim consulted one of his "lations" who is a colour consultant with Dulux a colour scheme for the building was arranged. The colours were aimed at complementing the 1920s style of the building and at about this time Jim expanded his volunteer labour force by 100% when Pat Currier appeared on the scene. As they were both retired carpenters Pat and Jim formed a formidable team in construction and fit out for the building over the next few months.
In early February the internal fit out had been commenced the roof was fitted to the verandah painting had been commenced and the septic trenches had been dug. Finally on 6th February the first club meeting was held in the clubhouse.
At the working bee on Saturday 17 February we were pleasantly surprised by a visit from the Chairman of the Shire Council, Mery Genrich who complemented us on our progress. Throughout the series of working bees the workers had always been regaled with one of the great pleasures of the day, a lunch of Del Moller's home cooked pork sausages and onions. Together with the workers compulsory free stubble no one could ask for better.
Throughout March the working bees continued and completed most of the external painting, but we were plagued by rainy weekends. Despite this steady progress was made and Jim continued to work daily on the project almost always assisted by Pat who showed his special multi-skilled abilities by manufacturing the steel security bars for the windows and doors. At one particular working bee the rain was constant but this didn't stop Alan Z who had been appointed by Jim as grounds curator. Alan was observed out in the wet drizzle spreading topsoil or rather "top mud", in fact he was knee deep in it at times. 'Concrete pathways were laid around the side and back of the building and Alan Wilson (Jim's nephew) started laying bricks at the front of the verandah. The electrician completed his installations and things were ready to roll.
On the evening of Friday 23 March we held our first Friday night practise at the Club house or rather our CLUBHOME. This event was very well attended by club members and the verandah was used as our stage. The clubhouse was a reality at last.
Apart from the working bees most of the work during the week continued to be done by only a handful of members, Jim Mitchell, Del Moller, Pat and Marie Currier, and Alan Z. The internal painting brought in another hard worker Nancy Chirrichilli who braved all the nasty comments about her height and width to work regularly at wearing down the worklist. Tiling and grouting of toilets and kitchen was the big job throughout May and although the big jobs were now largely completed many smaller or fiddly items remained on Jim's worklist.
Many members were now becoming bogged in a new problem due to the regular rainfall. The carpark was unusable and those who ventured to park their car in it were sometimes placed in an embarrassing situation. It was greasy and sticky. There is nothing worse than coming out very late on a Friday night hoping to get home to bed to find your car immovable. On 23rd of June the council again came to the rescue and assisted us by obtaining a large quantity of crushed rock and road base to stabilise enough area for 30 cars.
The front fence was now erected and Jim rigged a shadecloth shelter at the rear of the building over the BBQ. Meantime Alan Wilson had completed the brick BBQ which is destined to create many a hot sausage or sizzled steak. Alan has given the club considerable assistance by not only laying the bricks free of charge but also by donating the bricks used.
That's the history of the clubhouse to date, it has been a bit long winded but then to cut out some of the detail would have detracted from the story. I'm sure Jim would agree that it has been worth the work, we have had a lot of fun especially at the working bees and when listening to Jim re-telling and re-embellishing his saga of dealing with public servants.
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