Community life is for all of us

Welcome sign at Westonia, WA

Westonia is a small and friendly, tight knit community located over 300 km away from Perth’s city centre. It boasts stunning natural woodlands, breathtaking granite crops, gorgeous wildflowers and vast open skies. The town had been preserved to reflect its past as a gold mining town, and the original Westonia Town Hall still remains to this very day.

Unfortunately, the original bathroom facilities installed for use at the hall, also remained. Until not that long ago, the facilities constituted a single female and a single male toilet, in an old brick ablution building behind the hall. Neither allowed for universal or disabled access. In fact, the building is too narrow to even accommodate a simple walking frame, which is a tool utilised by many of the older residents in the community.

As a result, many of the town’s older residents were having to walk, with accompaniment, to the closest accessible toilet block, 150 metres down the road. This lead to people missing out on important town meetings and activities. The other solution residents were finding was to not attend at all, which left them excluded from community events.

The construction of a new, universally accessible toilet block in place of the old one was a welcome upgrade to the town hall. Westonia Progress Association completed the construction of the new facilities with a $10,000 grant from FRRR’s Caring for Ageing Rural Australians grant program in 2014, funded by the McCusker Charitable Foundation and support from the community.

The hall is something of a community hub for the town’s 100 residents, to say the least; it is utilised on an almost daily basis - between a monthly ‘movie night’ for the community, various workshops and educational courses for residents, art exhibitions, a gold centenary celebration and other important town events and anniversaries. The hall is also available for hire, and often plays host to anniversary parties, 21st birthday celebrations, weddings, funerals, naming days etc. Now with the new facilities, residents are able to fully participate in all town meetings and functions.

 

Photo credit: gordon@mingor.net

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