Monday, September 25, 2023

Jondaryan Woolshed 50th Anniversary Reunion

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The Friends of Jondaryan Woolshed Inc. are holding a reunion for all who have been involved in “the Jondaryan Woolshed Project” since its inception in 1973, including volunteers, staff, committee members, directors, stall holders, event organisers and other supporters.

The event will be held on Saturday 2 September 2023, from 10 am, in the now 164-year-old Heritage-listed Woolshed at Jondaryan.

There is an open invite to anyone and everyone involved in any aspect of the Jondaryan Woolshed over the past five decades to come along for a day of remembering and reconnecting.

It will be an informal opportunity to catch up with old friends over morning tea and a luncheon, with a few speeches at 2pm before the cutting of a 50th Birthday cake.

The origins of the idea to preserve the then 113-year-old shearing shed are very clear and well documented in newspaper reports at the time, and various publications since.

In May 1972, the Jondaryan State School were celebrating their Centenary, and decided the old shearing shed on the Oakey Creek just outside of town as a suitably interesting place to hold a Ball, albeit with much repair and preparation work to be done by the school mums and dads, and many other local farmer and residents.

The dance was a huge success, the result being that those attending, most of whom would never have set foot in the shed prior to this celebration, began to realise its historical significance.

Events unfolded at a slow but inevitable pace, with the then President of the School P&C, Mr Roy Grundy, after a necessary period of recovery from the Centenary celebrations, calling a public meeting to consider the preservation of the Jondaryan Woolshed for posterity in December 1973, where a Jondaryan Woolshed Preservation Committee was formed, with Roy as President.

The then owner of the land upon which the building sat, Lawry Rutledge, sensing the feeling of the district, subsequently offered the Woolshed and 12 acres of land to the Jondaryan district community, which was overwhelmingly accepted at a public meeting in March 1975.

The first AGM of a newly formed Jondaryan Woolshed Historical Museum and Park Association was held in August 1976, with Mr Grundy elected President.

An Australian Heritage Festival was held in August 1977 in conjunction with Brookvale Park.

It was to become an annual event for the next 35 years, with the last one held in 2012, superseded by a Jackie Howe Festival of the Golden Shears which continued for several years.

A rolling 50th anniversary of these significant events for the Jondaryan Woolshed and community has already begun! Jondaryan State School 150th anniversary celebrations were successfully held in September 2022, with parallel events happening at the Woolshed on the day.

This Reunion event marks the 50th anniversary of that first public meeting that cemented the beginnings of the preservation of the Jondaryan Woolshed as a treasured part of Australia’s heritage.

Proposals for the reinstatement of an annual festival in 2026 and/or 2027, to mark the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Association, and the 1st Australian Heritage Festival, are being considered.

The Jondaryan Woolshed is currently owned and managed by Toowoomba Regional Council, having eventually proved too much for a volunteer non-profit association to continue, in 2002 passing to Jondaryan Shire Council.

Bookings to attend the reunion, including the luncheon, are available on Trybooking, or by emailing or phoning 0437 834 639.

On Our Selection News 20 July 2023

This article appeared in On Our Selection News, 20 July 2023.


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