25 November 2022

Riverina volunteers finalists for Crown land award

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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(Left) Debbie Coddington and (Right) Jone Pavelic

Debbie Coddington and Jone Pavelic are finalists for the Individual Excellence in Crown Land Management Award. Photo: Supplied.

Two Riverina volunteers are recognised in this year’s Community Achievement Awards for their contributions to managing Crown reserves in the community.

Temora locals Debbie Coddington and Jone Pavelic have been named finalists for the Individual Excellence in Crown Land Management Award in this year’s NSW Government-sponsored Community Achievement Awards.

Debbie, the secretary of the Bectric Hall committee, is part of a group of volunteers responsible for keeping the last standing Pise Hall (which utilises rammed earth building techniques), built in 1904, in pristine condition.

The site has recently opened to campers, and Debbie tirelessly applied for grants which enabled the construction of the camp kitchen and the restoration of the hall’s roof.

The secretary secured $25,000 in grants which helped to build the secured outdoor barbecue area and an attached storeroom, and she is also applying for more grants to put a finishing seal on top of the iron roofs to stop them from rusting any further.

Debbie said she felt extremely humbled to be nominated for the award.

“I did not know I was going to be nominated to start with, and then to find out I’m a finalist, I thought, ‘Oh, my goodness’,” Debbie said. “Nothing like that ever happens to me.”

Debbie hopes through her nomination, the hall will be put on the map.

“I’m not expecting to win, it’s not about winning … it’s about getting Bectric on the map, and hopefully, it brings more people to the hall,” she said.

“A lot of locals don’t even know the hall even exists out there,” she said.

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Debbie said that while growing up in Quandary, she learned to play tennis at the Bectric Hall Reserve and still played tennis on Saturday afternoons.

She had been a committee member for many years before taking the role of secretary.

“My cousin George Bruest was the treasurer, and after he was diagnosed with cancer, he said, ‘You young ones won’t look after the hall after I go’,” Debbie said.

“I promised him that while I can, I will make sure that the hall gets looked after and used.”

Debbie said she organised ‘Bectric Rocks’, an outdoor entertainment music afternoon with Phil Moroney last year.

They invited local talents and raised funds for the hall and mental health.

“We’re in the process of organising next year’s one – it will be on 23 March,” she said.

Jone is the chairperson of Temora Showground Land Manager. The Temora Showground is a multi-use community facility comprising traditional showground activities and a camping area.

Jone is the point of contact for all facility bookings and site bookings for the caravan park and undertakes the role of onsite manager, making daily visits to ensure facilities are well managed, and stakeholders are looked after.

Jone said she felt very special being nominated for the award.

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“It is the last thing I would have thought of … to be honest, I thought they might have had the wrong person,” Jone said.

“It is wonderful news for Temora, and I’m very proud to be a finalist.

“What I do is not for me … it is for the town and I really enjoy that.”

Jone said as the president of the showground trust she was focused on looking after the showground and the people who come to visit and stay and enjoy their time.

“I go look around the showground every day and make sure that people are happy and everything’s alright.

“One of the things I say to the visitors is, ‘I’m not here to take your money, I’m just here to welcome you to Temora, especially to stay at our showground, and if there’s anything you need, or you have any issues, please don’t hesitate to ask’.”

Jone, born and bred in Temora, did her schooling in Wagga and has dedicated her time to the community’s betterment.

“I worked in many different places, and I guess that’s what helped me meet with other people and do work for the community,” she said.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke congratulated Debbie and Jone for being shortlisted for the awards.

The finalists will be at the Fairmount Resort Blue Mountains tonight for the gala awards ceremony.

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