Hall of mixed emotions

LAST HURRAH: Australian Country Music Hall of Fame visitor Marcia Webb (from Walcha), left, with volunteers Athol Latham, Annemarie King, Margaret Lansley, Helen Ajani, Kevin Lansley, Di Cooper, Margaret Strange, Eric Scott, Barrie Brennan, Barry Davis, Judy Loffel, Hilary Scott and Lorraine Pfitzner. Photo: Robmac

LAST HURRAH: Australian Country Music Hall of Fame visitor Marcia Webb (from Walcha), left, with volunteers Athol Latham, Annemarie King, Margaret Lansley, Helen Ajani, Kevin Lansley, Di Cooper, Margaret Strange, Eric Scott, Barrie Brennan, Barry Davis, Judy Loffel, Hilary Scott and Lorraine Pfitzner. Photo: Robmac

LAST weekend there were mixed emotions as the last Country in the Courtyard concert was held at the old Mechanics’ Institute in Brisbane St.

The Australian Country Music Hall of Fame volunteers were feeling a little sad to say goodbye to the building that’s been home for the past 20 years.

Judy Loffel, who’s spent 17-and-a-half years welcoming visitors to the museum and sharing the stories of our pioneers, is just one of them.

“I can remember coming here and not knowing very much at all about country music, but I had a wonderful mentor in Kevin Knapp,” Judy said.

“He taught me so much and I’ll never forget him sharing his knowledge and friendship with me.”

Today the doors are closed but, like the proverbial duck pond, there’s lots happening beneath the surface. Boxes are being packed, displays taken down, installations carefully removed and prepared for relocation to the Tamworth Visitor Information Centre, which will be vacated soon.

Staff and volunteers there will move out to the Big Golden Guitar tourist complex.

Australian Country Music Foundation president Eric Scott said he expected it would be several months before the museum reopened in its new location.

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