The Emerald Hill Progress Association is pushing to improve the community hall in time for its centenary in April 2022.
Long-time resident Maxine McDonald said the association would like to host a celebration at the historic hall and there were plenty of things that needed to be done before then.
The association has successfully applied for a number of grants to install new electrical wiring, new ceiling fans, lay a new concrete slab floor with a new step on the existing landing, and install a corrugated iron awning with guttering, handrails to access the ramp, and lighting and security floodlights.
In December, the association received a $25,000 grant under the Community Building Partnership Program and has since received $5000 under Monsanto's Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal fund.
The Monsanto grant will enable the association to get in an electrician in the next month to move power points and rewire the circuit in the kitchen because it overloads when there are functions in the hall.
"The urn, hot water system, pressure pump for the toilets, stove, air conditioner and hall lights, they’re all on the same circuit board [and] when we have a function, the power keeps blowing," Mrs McDonald said.
"You’ve got to turn the hot plates off or turn the urn and run out and flick the switchboard back on."
Mrs McDonald said it would make a "massive difference" to users of the hall.
"Even with the CWA ladies, they have to wait for us to come and climb up the stairs to even turn the light on [in the hall]," she said.
"We’re trying to get all this stuff done because when you rely on grants and they only come around every six or 12 months, it takes a while to get things done."
We like our hall ... It’s got character.Maxine McDonald
By combining the Monsanto grant with money left over from a previous grant, the association will also be able to install new ceiling fans until air-conditioning can be considered.
"We would need the ceiling lined before we could even think about air-conditioning for the hall," Mrs McDonald said.
"Ultimately, it will be a goal but at the moment, this is the best way."
The association is hopeful the Community Building Partnership Program funding can be put into action in the coming months. Official plans are being drawn up for the new concrete slab and awning so the association can submit a development application to Gunnedah Shire Council.
Mrs McDonald said the awning would make a huge difference in summer for outdoor functions and the kids who attend Ooranga's monthly playgroup.
Over the last few years, the hall has received a fresh coat of paint, the stage has been re-floored, and a new kitchen and solar-powered exhaust fans have been installed.
The improvements ensure the hall can accommodate all of the activities it is used for, including pilates, yoga, grain meetings, fundraisers, Christmas parties, weddings, CWA meetings, music performances and fashion parades.
"It’s a meeting place," Mrs McDonald said.
"We like our hall. We like that it’s old. It’s got character.
"It’s nice to go down there … It brings you so much joy because there are so many new people now."