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Renovation a show-stopper for Rockdale Musical Society


May 18, 2018 by admin

The day the music died: Rockdale Musical Society is abandoning Rockdale for Hurstville, amid claims the refurbishment of the town hall almost sent them bust. Picture: John Veage AFTER 73 years in Rockdale, the Rockdale Musical Society will leave the area and set up shop in Hurstville.

The announcement comes amid claims Rockdale Council nearly sent the organisation broke by failing to reimburse them for items lost or destroyed during the refurbishment of Rockdale Town Hall.

The group is the longest continuously running musical society in Australia.

Asbestos was found during planned renovations of the town hall last September, which added to the cost and length of the refurbishment.

Musical society president David Wood said he had supported the refurbishment but during the works $40,000 worth of the musical society’s equipment was either destroyed due to contamination or went missing.

“We are still trying to be reimbursed for these items,” he said.

“We did everything the council asked us to do in terms of paper work and quotes. They did not help us at all.”

Among the missing or destroyed items are $20,000 worth of stage curtains and a $12,000 electrical distribution box, Mr Wood said.

He said the society was forced to use its own money to hire new equipment for shows this year.

Rockdale mayor Bill Saravinovski said he was not aware of the musical society’s claims about lost equipment but was disappointed to hear they were leaving Rockdale.

“We have had a long association with them and my council has supported them,” Cr Saravinovski said.

He said the door would always be open if the group wanted to return.

However, this seems unlikely, with Mr Wood saying members are so incensed they have already unanimously vowed never to return to the town hall.

He said that without the support of Bexley RSL, which stepped in to host some performances, the society would be bankrupt.

A Rockdale Council spokesman said the council had provided the musical society with exclusive use of the town hall for two productions each year.

He said the council was investigating the musical society’s claims of lost equipment.

The society will perform at the 900-seat Marana Auditorium in Hurstville from next March.

Mr Woods said the group would not use the Rockdale name for those performances.

“We believe it would be disrespectful to Hurstville to keep using that name, so we are in the process of registering a new one,” he said.

The group will continue to use the Rockdale name for selected shows at Bexley RSL, where Nunsense is now playing until September 9.

Do you support Rockdale Musical Society’s move to Hurstville?


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