For more than a century the floor of the showground’s barn has been danced upon, dined upon, and been the foundation of numerous other social events in Grafton.
A new era has now dawned for the historic building, however, with a sleek new hardwood floor laid from July to September this year thanks to the co-operation of numerous groups and individuals.
Clarence Pastoral and Agricultural Society President, Rex Green, said that the new 5280 square foot floor was the result of $50,000 State Government funding; labour by Work for the Dole participants; and a $5,000 discount on flooring supplied by Notaras timbers. He said board member Barry Green did much behind the scenes work to get the project started, and volunteer Michael Eggins put in many hours supervising works.
Mr Green said the floor was built to an exceptional standard, and it was “so level you could play carpet bowls on it”. Work for the Dole participants were also enthusiastic, he said, turning up whenever needed and working hours beyond what was required.
The new, mostly blackbutt floor, has already hosted two weddings, according to Mr Green – the first of many events yet to come in the 1000-head capacity venue.
“The barn in its early days was a dance hall, with regular dances up to the early 70s. Even into the 1980s they were using it for Bluelight Discos, run by the police,” he said.
“Now we’ve got the floor done, we’re hoping to get the balls happening again, and other events … it’s more attractive to other people now.”
Mr Green said much work had been done to revitalise the Barn over the past 20 years. Now, the board is planning its final project as part of upgrades of the Barn – new toilets.