THE Friends of the Old Bega Hospital's annual Raise the Roof Spring Fair is very special this year.
For the first time for many, many years there is hope that the historic charred building may actually have its roof raised and be restored to become a vibrant cultural, community and tourist centre.
Due to a $100,000 Heritage Activation Grant from the Heritage Near Me program of the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, the Old Bega Hospital Trust has been able to employ a design team including architects who are helping to develop a strategy for the whole site, and provide specific advice on how to make the old buildings a first class community and cultural centre.
Visitors to the Spring Fair will be able to have a look at what is proposed and suggest ideas at an exhibition in the former nurses' quarters building.
The next move on the Trust's part is to persuade the Deputy Premier, John Barilaro, to release the $500,000 for the roof announced by Member for Bega Andrew Constance way back in 2014. That grant had conditions attached so now the Trust is asking for those conditions be changed to a staged restoration, rather than the Trust having to come up with the money for a full restoration.
The Raise the Roof Spring Fair is being held on Sunday, October 29, from 10am until 2pm in the grounds of the Old Bega Hospital.
As well as making everyone aware of the future for the building, the fair will be fun-filled four hours with music, children's activities, stalls, lots of delicious food and the very entertaining Brett Rogers' dog high jump.
There will be a number of demonstrations and participation in these can be enjoyed by young and old alike, including weaving, pottery and indigo dyeing.
The annual fair is organised to remind the community that the heritage-listed Old Bega Hospital was, before 2004, a vibrant social space used by more than 40 community groups.
A fire in 2004 destroyed much of the Victorian-era main building, but some surrounding sections and the site are still used for community activities – including the Bega Valley Potters and Weavers, community radio station Edge FM and the Men’s Shed..