The WA town of Nyabing has been fighting a long battle against population decline and, just a few short years ago, faced the dismal prospect of losing its only pub.
Using cash raised in a community cropping program, the locals rallied together and bought the run-down establishment to start afresh.
After 12 thirsty months without any cold tap beer, the new building finally opened to the public this week and the celebrations began.
Not just a pub
The Nyabing Community Hub is open for business and the locals could not be happier.
They lost their only competitive sport program and came very close to losing their beloved watering hole. But, thanks to some hard work and perseverance, a new place to socialise has been created.
A community cropping program, which raised almost $1 million, provided the means for the Nyabing Progress Association to step in and save the crumbling town pub.
“We lost our sport to lack of numbers and the pub was slowly dying,” association member Justin Germain said.
“Farms have got bigger, there are fewer people, and we have a big generation gap.
“The pub had been on the market for a long time and there were no takers, so something had to be done.”
Originally the plan was to refurbish the existing building but, once the work began, a whole can of worms opened up.
“The window frames were crooked and there were rotting timbers and everything else,” Mr Germain said.
“It was in a poor state, so we had to build a new hub.”
The finished product is far more than just a licensed tavern. It also features a modern function room, office spaces, and short-term accommodation for people passing through the small agricultural town.
Carefully planned and constructed
The Nyabing Community Hub is modern and sleek, tucked between shops along the main street.
The building features eye-catching stone work and a sleek timber bar top.
Association member Fiona Hobley said the stone and timberwork were included not just for aesthetic purposes but also as a sentimental addition.
“It was lovely to keep the granite rock, which is local to the area, and that has formed a really lovely fireplace, so you have the real earthy feel with the fire and stone,” she said.
“And to top it off we have salmon gum timber, which used to be a tree that towered over the main street.
“Due to safety, it had to be chopped down. But we get to enjoy its beautiful timber now, right?
“We love the natural elements and we live in the elements, so it’s only fitting that our building have a part of that.”
Finally open for business
Hundreds of people gathered outside the Nyabing Community Hub on Thursday to witness the official opening of their new collaborative space.
After weeks of delays, Ms Hobley was relieved to see the open day finally arrive.
“I’m absolutely amazed by the number of people who turned up. We knew there would be a lot, but this has exceeded expectations,” she said.
“This is a family place that we’ve created, so it’s great to have the children here.
“They’ve had to watch us go through the build and, to have it actually done, I think they’re delighted to be inside.”
While the new community hub opened this week with plenty of celebratory drinks, the people of Nyabing say it offers much more than a place to unwind.
“I think you need a drinking outlet. It’s where people come to let their hair down and get off the farms,” Mr Germain said.
“If you don’t have a pub in town, you don’t have much of a town I don’t think.”