Malachi Revival receives NSW Government grant

NEW BEGINNINGS: Member for Bathurst Paul Toole, Johnny East, deputy mayor Kerry Gibbons, Lucy East and Cr Brenda Lyon in the Malachi Gilmore Hall.
NEW BEGINNINGS: Member for Bathurst Paul Toole, Johnny East, deputy mayor Kerry Gibbons, Lucy East and Cr Brenda Lyon in the Malachi Gilmore Hall.

THE Malachi Gilmore Hall has received funding from the NSW Government to revive the life in an extraordinary building, the Art Deco jewel in the heart of Oberon.

The careful refurbishment of the State Heritage-listed hall will begin with a community heritage project - the Malachi Revival.

The project will be a weekend of events where the Oberon community will have the opportunity to experience again the vibrant heyday of the Malachi.

For 80 years, the Malachi has caught the attention in the centre of Oberon Street. For the first 40 years, the hall served the people of Oberon as the centre of social gatherings, from balls to cinema, theatre to roller-skating.

The next 40 years, the foyer housed the Cobweb Craft Shop and the main hall was used as a wool store.

At the end of 2017, the building was sold to musician and artist Lucy East (nee Cunynghame) and her husband Johnny.

They have partnered as an artist-run initiative, called Oberon Live Projects, with plans to reopen the Malachi as a visual and performing arts venue, with film screening capabilities – and to return it to the hall’s original use.

The project has a strong connection to Oberon and to the Malachi – the original projectionist in the theatre was Les Antiss, husband of Grace Cunynghame, the great aunt of the new owner.

The Cunynghames have been settlers in the area since the 1840s.

The Malachi Revival will be two days of events, each based on historic events held in the hall from 1937-1977.

“The five events are geared to engage with the Oberon community and beyond, and are a unique opportunity to collect all the stories from the hall’s vibrant past and a chance to document the oral and pictorial history of the community’s use of the Malachi,” Mrs East said.

The weekend will be made possible through $32,000 funding under the NSW Government Heritage Grants Program.

Member for Bathurst Paul Toole said he was pleased to announce the Malachi Revival project had been successful in gaining funding.

“Looking after our heritage is everyone’s responsibility and local communities play an important role in maintaining heritage,” he said.

He said this funding round marks the 40th anniversary of the state-funded heritage grants program.

The printed program for the Malachi Revival is available from the Malachi and from the Council Chambers.

Information is also available on Facebook: @oberonliveprojects

Tickets are on sale, and registration for free events is available from either the Malachi Gilmore Hall on Saturdays\Sundays in August and September, 10am to 3pm, or from Eventbrite.com.au under “The Malachi Revival”.