Toongi Hall History
OONGI RECREATION RESERVE AND PUBLIC HALL
Public Reserve No: 61476
Notified: 25 October 1929
The Toongi Hall and Tennis Courts have been the focus of social and community life since they were built by the community.
The gravel surface and fencing of the four tennis courts were constructed by local families in 1927 to early 1928, with the first game of tennis played on 26 February 1928. Photos from 1928 show a good crowd playing tennis and enjoying afternoon tea. The courts remained gravel for many decades with many working bees required and regular rolling of the courts with a heavy concrete roller and marking of lines.
During World War Two, the courts were dormant and rabbits dug warrens under Courts 1 and 4. Depressions in the earth can still be seen and the later asphalt surface cracked in these areas. After six years of War, the Tennis Club was restarted with working bees undertaken to restore the courts which had been neglected.
In the late 1960s, Talbragar Shire sealed the courts and permanent lines were painted.
By the mid-1970s the court surface started to break up. Community members removed the bitumen and carted gravel to build up the base. Contractors were engaged to apply a hot mix surface. This was undertaken twice as the first application was not sufficient.
In the 1980s, the community installed lights on the courts to allow for night tennis. Macquarie County Council assisted with erection of the poles. The cost of construction was $4250 which was raised by many cake stalls, market days in Dubbo and donations.
The courts had deteriorated and needed to be upgraded. A synthetic grass court being completed in 2017 and a further court in 2021. The lights were upgraded in 2021 as they were no longer operational. This was funded through the NSW Government, Crown Lands.
The outside benches were upgraded in 2020 using hall funds and completed by local volunteers.
The planning and construction of the Toongi Hall took place in 1930. Local property owners carted cypress pine logs to the “Cranbrook” sawmill where all of the timber for the Hall and the Emmagool Church was milled. A contractor was employed to build the Hall for approximately 400 pounds. The Hall was officially opened on 14 May 1930.
When the Hall was built there was no Supper Room, which was added later using round pine poles and galvanised iron. Much later and in stages, the Supper Room and Hall were lined, and the kitchen and lobby were added.
The members of the Toongi Recreation Reserve & Hall Trust and other community members have always undertaken the vast majority of the maintenance, repairs and cleaning of the Hall and toilets, and the mowing/slashing of the Reserve on a voluntary basis. This has been the case for over 90 years.
The Toilet block was constructed in 1981. The Supper room was re-roofed in 1981.
The discovery of white ants in 2019 saw the hall unsafe and unable to hold functions. Emergency funding from Crown Lands was sought to fix the ceiling and beams. This was completed in 2020 and additional items such as fans, improved lighting and a unique colourbond ceiling.
In 2021 the kitchen is being upgraded with funds from NSW Government grants.
Importantly, the Hall houses a wooden, glass fronted plaque to honour members of the Toongi community who served in World War II - Toongi Honour Roll 1939-1945.