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March 2, 2021

Final season for Brunswick’s historic Housie Shed

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VRA president John Wraight and VRA road captain Sue Biggar will call numbers for the last time this year at the Housie Shed in Brunswick Heads.
VRA president John Wraight and VRA road captain Sue Biggar will call numbers for the last time this year at the Housie Shed in Brunswick Heads.

Eve Jeffery

Next week might be the last time an iconic family activity will run in Brunswick Heads.

For about 30 years the Brunswick Valley Volunteer Rescue Association (VRA) has spent the warmer months preparing and then manning the Housie Shed in Banner Park on the banks of the Brunswick River.

This summer the VRA will call the numbers that cross the bingo boards in their last season organising the much-loved and anticipated community activity.

The VRA volunteers have run this event for the festival committee as a major fundraiser to keep the squad going.

However, it has been the same group of devoted folk year after year and they just can’t keep on going.

‘Last year we advised the committee we could no longer run it’, says VRA secretary Phillip Walsh.

‘We said we would help any new organisation learn the ropes but there have been no takers. We agreed to run it this one last year.’

Mr Walsh says the actual running of the Housie Shed is only part of the task.

‘It starts in October with the scouring of shops for bargains for the pick-a-prize, sorting and cataloguing and then in November the erection of the tent, cages, lighting and seating.

‘Then it all needs to come down again after Australia Day. It takes more than 1,500 hours of volunteers’, their families’ and friends’ time in total.’

Mr Walsh says the service will miss the funds that the event provides and they will have to look elsewhere for financial help. ‘We make over $15,000 a season which is about half the money we need to run the squad each year’, he said.

‘We will need to find some major sponsors for the years ahead.’

The Housie Shed will be open from 7 to 10pm until January 16.

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