News / Community / Social / Featured / 11th November 2021
Next chapter for Coona Club
What do you get when you put two bobs together? In monetary terms it’s 20 cents, but in this case it’s a collaboration between two men attempting to breathe life back into the old Coonabarabran Club.
Robert Tootell and Robert Mathews are trying to rid the club of its former stigma of exclusivity and pretentiousness.
Different community groups use the facilities at the club on various days throughout the week, but the two Bobs desperately want to eventually open it up to the wider public.
“We really want to shed the image it’s had in the past and make it the people’s club,” Mr Mathews said.
“It was initially opened up by the farmers, for the farmers in the area, and used exclusively by them.
“It’s kept that label for a while of only being for a certain group, but we’re trying to change that.
“There’s no pokies, no Keno, no gambling - it’s just a nice, relaxing place to go after work to have a beer and socialise.”
One of the first steps the pair has taken to change the perception of the club was to hold a ‘tradies’ afternoon’, but the Bob’s said they were thwarted by COVID-19.
“We had quite a few turn up for it, but what really hurt us was the double vaccination situation. We had to turn away a few people who weren’t vaccinated,” Mr Mathews said.
On the horizon, Mr Mathews said they would like to hold a ladies’ afternoon.
“We want to hold these little events and once there’s enough interest we can look at opening the club up to the general public.
“Maybe Thursday and Friday afternoons for people to come and enjoy a beer or wine after work.
“In the meantime, it’s the perfect place to hold small functions.
“It’s a great place for little events and functions like business meetings - or even work Christmas parties with Christmas coming.”
History of the Coona Club
The Coonabarabran Club was originally opened in the early 1950s and was converted from a house. The initial purpose was as a stop over for the wives of farmers in the area.
The women would come into town to do their shopping and be able to stay the night at the club before making their journey home.
According to Coonabarabran resident David Rayner, similar clubs existed in surrounding towns such as Tamworth, Gunnedah and Dubbo.
Mr Rayner said when the club first opened its use was extraordinarily exclusive to farmers.
A list of the original members still sits on the mantelpiece at the club.