RMCMC Club House History
The following article was taken from the official program on opening day of the Redlands Modern Country Music Club house on Saturday 4th August 1990.
The Club House History
It began in June 1988 when Des Green approached the club with an idea about a derelict house on a block of land at Thorneside. The building was small and in need of repair but basically sound and ideal for a clubhouse. Des told the club committee that they could have it for the cost of removal. After consideration of the idea the committee decided to go for it and accept Des' offer with thanks, and so began the working bees, laughter, tears, frustration and elation that most projects of this kind bring.
Having decided to establish the building as a clubhouse the committee now had the problem of where to put it. Having had dealings with the Redlands Shire Council at various times over the past few years it was decided that Del Moller and Jim Mitchell should approach the council to see if a block of land was available for lease within the Shire. The only other alternative would be perhaps to purchase land but with real estate prices at the time going through a boom this idea was abandoned.
Now it must have seemed an extreme idea to the Council for a small group of amateur musos to request a block of land as well as the idea to move a practically derelict house on to it. It should be kept in mind that within the building industry the RSC is noted for it's stringent standards for buildings and relocation of elderly buildings is unusual in the Redlands to say the least. But we were completely unaware of these possible stumbling blocks at the time, we were confident of the Council's assistance which was completely forthcoming.
On 4th of July 1988 the Shire Council Parks Committee gave approval in principal for the lease of a small block of land at the Pinklands Sports Reserve the approximate location was known but the exact size and other lease details were to be sorted out in the future. The important point was we had a site on which to locate the building.
Now the work began in earnest. Des started arrangements for plans to be drafted and Jim contacted various contractors for quotes to move the building, an engineer was also engaged to provide a report to the Council on the building's condition. By 31st August 1988 it was decided that Crosby House Removals would do the removal and preliminary work was carried out to put the building on pallets at Thorneside.
But now work was needed to prepare the site to receive the building. Discussions were held with the Council and it was agreed that we should clear the site and move the building as soon as possible. By 24th September Tom Parker's bulldozer had moved in and cleared enough room to accommodate the building. That same day Jim Mitchell trapped Mary Genrich and Paul Clauson in a corner at the showground's and demanded money for our project. Paul could see he was dealing with a desperate man and was very helpful, he suggested we approach the arts council through the Premiers Department. This suggestion seemed to satisfy Jim, and so he began his epic saga or perhaps trial by frustration. Forms were filled in in triplicate, letters were written numerous phone calls were made and finally the Premiers Department acknowledged that we had a case and agreed to send us the Application Form. Verbal advice from the Premiers Dept. at this time was it should take about 3 months for the Application to go through.
Meanwhile work continued to progress. The clubhouse plans were approved by the Shire Council with about 14 amendments and finally that great day arrived when the building was moved from Thorneside to Thornlands. On Saturday 29th October at 4am the removalists commenced the job under police escort. It went remarkably well, by 6am the building was on site and at last something substantial had been achieved, our clubhouse was beginning to take shape. Further site preparation went on with logs being cleared by Jim, Des and Dave Hack and with the assistance of Tom Parker with his dozer. Tom refused to accept any payment for his work. On 26 November the club held the first of many working bees for members to inspect the building and assist with spreading topsoil as well as take in the pleasant environment. Many of these working bees continued on into a campfire and sing-along in the evening, with guitars, harmonicas , billy tea and damper, who could wish for more.
Around this time Jim was faced with the problem of having to complete a particularly nasty government form, the formal application for State Government Assistance for the project. This was a daunting task as the questions asked on this form ranged from: How many buses pass the front gate? to What's on at the local drive in tonight ? About the only thing it didn't want to know was What colour knickers are you wearing? The detail required on this form was a real problem as no one could work out where we could find the information. Finally Jim raised the matter with Mary Genrich who said that the Redland Shire Statistician had all the answers, and so Jim harassed the office workers one day for about 3 hours to get this form completed. The completed form was finally lodged with the Premiers Department on 31 January 1989 where he was requested to provide photographs, building specifications, financial statements, a copy of the lease, a certified valuation of the building, and quotes for the work from sub-contractors. Lets leave this area just for a while but remember the saga doesn't end there.
By this time, late January 1989 the lease of the land from the Redland Shire Council had been formalised and the council also assisted by installing a culvert crossing for the car park together with a load of topsoil. Again Tom Parker came to the rescue and spread the load of topsoil free of charge. The grass growing season was now in full swing and Alan Zsolcszay came to the rescue with his tractor slasher, regularly mowing the site and nearby area. There was a great working bee on 19th February and at that time the club juniors held their first practise in the clubhouse despite there being no water, no electricity, no toilets and the building was still sitting on wooden pallets. The chorus of "You Are My Sunshine" filled the air and the clubhouse had it's first Country Music experience.
In late February 1989 the building was finally put on stumps and water was connected to the site. Jim now contacted the Premiers Department eager to obtain permission to commence work. He was told the application is now in the Works Department and will take about a month to clear. In early April he made the same enquiry but still had no permission to proceed.
Unable to start work Jim now concentrated on the planning and estimating associated with the work. The works department finally responded to his enquiries saying that some additional changes were needed to the plans before the project could proceed. Jim approached Bill Trewin for assistance with plan alterations and Bill helped us out on a no-charge basis. The revised plans were returned to the Works Dept in mid-June and after waiting for a month (mid-July) Jim made a call to the appropriate officials seeking permission to start. He was unable to start but some advice should be available in about 3 weeks. Another call was made in mid-August and he was told about 1 week. On 25th August it was "next week". Around this time Jim's notes become harsh and bitter and his personal comments unprintable.
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.