Kitchen renovation breathes new life into Irvinebank's School of the Arts

Ivirnebank School of Arts

As the only public hall in Irvinebank, a small town of around 300 people in the western foothills of the Atherton Tablelands of Far North Queensland, the School of the Arts has been the focal point of social life.

The Irvinebank School of the Arts, first constructed around 1900, despite various restorations and renovations, its kitchen could no longer comply with the council’s health and safety regulations.  A Tackling Tough Times Together grant of $7,113 helped to get the kitchen operational once with the fabrication and installation of stainless steel commercial benches for food preparation, dishwashing, hand washing, the purchase of a hot water system and ten tables and 70 chairs. The project was underpinned by the philosophy that conservation should entail ‘as much as necessary but as little as possible’.

The success of the project can be measured by the high level of satisfaction expressed by volunteers – especially the local women who toil away in the kitchen to keep visitors to the School of the Arts the School of the Arts the School of the Arts fed and watered. They never envisioned that a ‘new’ kitchen would ever be obtainable in their lifetime and the broader community. Like many rural and remote women they ‘accept’ their lot and ‘make do’ with what they have. Second-hand kitchen cupboards, fridges, kitchen sink donated in good faith by the community over many years were seen to be acceptable.

Now with a new, clean, hygienic, comfortable kitchen space in which to serve the community and visitors alike, there is a sense of achievement that anything is possible if people come together to work towards their goals.

Future plans for the use of the kitchen during the tourist season are to provide coffee and cake for morning and afternoon teas to raise funds towards ongoing maintenance.

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