What do a dilapidated hall in a state of decay and a group of modern-day medieval knights without a place to joust have in common?
At first appearances, nothing. But put them together and you have a solution.Or at least that’s what Councillor Paul King found when he put his cunning to work.
Problem 1: The Long Plain Soldiers Memorial Hall, east of Inverell, was officially opened in 1922 to honour the diggers of World War One. Unfortunately, years of disuse have seen it fall to disarray. So much so that laser-measurements have found a 45-degree slant that is worst than that of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Problem 2: The Inverell Dark Ages and Medieval Society was created just last year for die-hard history buffs to don strange costumes and revive the period from 400 to the 14th century AD. Though enthusiasm reigns supreme among the 20 members, they had nowhere to practice and could often be seen feuding at the edge of Lake Inverell or at Campbell Park.
Killing two birds with one stone, the society was offered a chance to restore the hall to its former glory and also practice medieval swordsmanship and fighting skills on the grounds. Now, ten trips to the garbage tip later and still cleaning strong, the group do not regret their decision and are working with gusto to save the leaning hall before it falls apart.
Suzanne Baker, publicity officer of the hall committee and re-enactment group, said that the hall will be restored to its full glory in time for its centenary. “We were told that the hall won’t be around for much longer unless something is done,” she said, encouraging people to attend fundraising events to save it.
Once restored, the sky is the limit as the 300-capacity hall would be great for community meetings, weddings and there’s even talk of role-playing board games for medieval buffs who don’t want to fight with swords.
READ MORE: New society brings Dark Ages to Inverell
The Inverell Dark Ages and Medieval Society initially saw the restoration of Long Plain Soldiers Hall as a great opportunity to find a coveted meeting spot.
It has become so much more, and – in a race against time – the group is rushing to raise funds needed to restore the structure to its former glory.
A Market Day is being held on Sunday, December 9, to raise funds for the restoration. Apart from stalls and the presence of Santa there will also be fight reenactments throughout the day.
The hall will be closed for safety reasons, but the incline is evident from outside making for a great opportunity to take photos before the restoration begins.
Visitors are encouraged to join in the medieval fun and foam swords will be available for those who wish to joust. Or if you want to see the real thing with swords, blood and sweat, just enjoy the action on the day or catch the group in its regular 3pm Sunday meetings.
The society is also urging people with old photos or information about the hall to get in touch with it. Telephone 0458 796 137.
READ MORE: Game of Thrones at Lake Inverell | Photos
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