The Tooheys New Crew is a team of skilled tradies and good mates, headed by rugby league legend Paul ‘The Chief’ Harragon. The Tooheys New Crew travel all over NSW completing favours in the form of building projects, at no cost to the local community.
The crew is coming to Fingal Head to recruit, renew and revamp the Fingal Rovers SLSC in a renovation blitz this weekend, led by rugby league champion Paul Harragon.
Paul and members of the team visited Fingal on the weekend to drum up interest in the project and get in a swim between the flags. ‘I came to rally bit of support and awareness for volunteers and say g’day to the local community,’ said Paul at the work site on Saturday. ‘There is a fair bit in this project and close work with the council to get this facility finished in time for summer. It really is a very difficult situation for the surf club to be operating out of two containers and not being able to step a foot inside this wonderful facility.’
Paul says that everyone working together is what the Tooheys New crew is about. ‘It’s about harnessing mateship, and everyone working together on projects that leave a lasting legacy to the town. That’s what’s happening here – everyone is coming together to realise this building now, so in summertime it will be ready to go.’
Paul says that the crew have completed about 24 projects so far throughout New South Wales. ‘We’ve done everything from PCYCs, to hospitals, rescue centres, heaps of sporting facilities, a lot of surf clubs. We even went all the way to Cobar to build a fence for the Cobar camel. He was the mascot of the local rugby union team (not surprisingly called the Cobar Camels). He kept getting out on to the ground and onto the main street of Cobar so we went all the way out there with the crew and we built ‘Bruce’ the camel a five-star enclosure. Now that was a funny one but it brought the whole town together and that’s what we want to do. It’s not like we want to come to town and build something and leave. We want to, at no expense to the community, provide all the labour and expertise as a focal point to bring everyone together so the community can do it for themselves.’
The Fingal SLSC will undergo a huge transformation. The project will focus on improving the existing foundations of the surf club through painting, tiling, and restoration. Safety and rescue equipment will be moved from their current location of shipping containers to a secure storage area, and to top things off the crew will be building a brand-new members bar and coffee area.
Fingal Rovers SLSC president Robyn Wonson says the surf club is excited about having the Tooheys New Crew on board to give the club the attention it deserves. ‘With all that’s planned for the renovation – painting, tiling, fixing of the first aid and training rooms, plus building a members bar and coffee area – the crew have a big job ahead of them,’ said Robyn during the crew’s visit last Saturday. ‘We will need our local community support via volunteers to make this project a success.’
Paul says that even though he heads up the Tooheys New Crew, the tradesmen led by Paul Gillespie are the backbone behind all the projects. ‘We all work together. We all get into it. I do hit the thumbs with the hammer, I toss sausages, I talk it up, I push the wheelbarrow, I do everything. We are here a week early to take the opportunity to make sure the awareness is here and get some more volunteers and talk it up for next weekend. Fingal Head is a pretty small community and this is a real focal point, a really important part of it.’
Project ideas for the Tooheys New Crew can come from anyone in the community and can be submitted online. Paul says that’s it’s important not to be put off if the crew has already been to your town. ‘We did the Cudgen surf club about two years ago, we love it up here in the Tweed and we’d love to come back again. Where the Tooheys New Crew goes next is up to the public. If we get a great submission put in, we’ll be back in a heartbeat. We’d like everyone around here to know that we’d love to come back again. Whether it’s a community centre, a sport centre, the local theatre, a hospital – whatever. It can be small, it can be big. Just because we have been to a town it doesn’t mean we won’t come back.’
After the labour days at the surf club site, there will be an official ‘handover’ and celebration event on Sunday of the newly refurbished club with community members.
How can you help the crew? From 8am this Friday and Saturday December 7 and 8, you can make a real difference at the renovation of Fingal Rovers SLSC. Everyone is welcome, from licensed tradies and painters to wheelbarrow pushers and sausage flippers – everyone can lend a hand. Interested community members over the age of 18 can register as a volunteer via [email protected]
The Fingal Rovers SLSC is on Marine Parade, Fingal Head – just turn up at 8am to lend a hand.