Possum hut is reborn

Sharon Rafferty, Kate Kinsela and Lynne Sutherland
Sharon Rafferty, Kate Kinsela and Lynne Sutherland

After over 15 years without a designated building, the Canungra Fine Arts Committee is happy to announce that construction has finally begun for a new pavilion.

Affectionately named after the old pavilion – ‘The Possum Hut’ – the new structure will reside on the slope between the old toilet block and green shed at the Canungra Show Grounds.

“We got Matt Bird to carve the stump of a gum tree we had to remove with local animals; it will be on display in front of the pavilion,” says Sharon Rafferty, Secretary of the Canungra Show Society.

Canungra Law

The original wooden hut was knocked down in the early 2000s due to general deterioration and a white ant invasion and has been sorely missed by the arts community.

Plans were created to reconstruct the hut when it was demolished, but it was evident early on that funding would be an issue and the process came to a halt.

In October 2021, when the Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grants Program was created, Sharon approached Wayne Reiser, previous President of the Canungra Sport and Recreation Association (CSRA), for a copy of the plans. She then applied for a grant to build a new pavilion and was successful in February 2022.

However, the quoted cost of the build increased substantially during the time the grant was applied for and when construction began. In order to keep the pavilion the size it was on the plan, the CSRA contributed to the build cost.

“It’s been a joint effort between the show society and grounds committee (CSRA),” says Sharon. 

The sub-committee created upon receival of the grant faced many other adversities, such as difficulties finding contractors, a project manager, and dealing with council regulations.

“It was deemed to be in a flood zone, we had to comply with additional conditions,” says Sharon.

“There were all sorts of hurdles, we were well and truly tested,” agrees previous Fine Arts Steward Lynne Sutherland.

The new pavilion has been designed to support the community in the event of future natural disasters as a resource centre. The Possum Hut will also be available to the local Canungra Crafters and Canungra History Association, as well as being used during the annual Canungra Show.

“It’s been a long time coming,” says Lynne.

The entire fine arts community is looking forward to once again having a designated pavilion. 

Construction is hoped to end in time for the upcoming Canungra Show on August 24.