EYES down was called for the final time at Sacred Heart hall in North Albury last night.
An era ended with bingo first played in the hall soon after its opening in the mid-1960s.
Greg Brailey from Lavington was on hand to play the last games of bingo at the hall last night. Picture: DAVID THORPE
Bingo was initially a major fund-raiser for Sacred Heart Catholic parish before proceeds were directed to fund classroom technology upgrades at the nearby St Anne’s Primary School from the early 1990s.
At its peak bingo raised up to $15,000 a year for the school.
But the figure has dropped sharply in recent years despite the ongoing commitment of school parents and teachers giving up their Friday nights to call or co-ordinate the weekly games.
The first body blow to bingo was the smoking ban inside the hall, cutting numbers from 100-plus to the current levels of around 60 regulars.
Brian Kelly had the honour of calling the last night of St Anne’s bingo.
Former school principal Sister Anne Hagan said the bingo proceeds were the catalyst for the school being able to strongly embrace technology.
“It was a considerable amount of money,” she said.
“It was what kept the technology going at a time when things were starting to get going in that area.
“We leased computers initially and it was a good money spinner.
“The other good thing was the money we were getting wasn’t coming from the parents.
“It was coming from outside and not a drain on parents.”
Sister Hagan was principal at St Anne’s between 2002 and 2008 and also volunteered to help run bingo.
“It was important for the people of North Albury as well to have something to do,” she said.
“They really enjoyed it and at the same time supported the school.”
Present principal Bede Hart said the school’s board had been monitoring the return from bingo for the last 18 months.
“It has become obvious it is no longer a viable activity,” he said.
“This has been a difficult decision due to the amount of support we have received over many years.
“Dwindling numbers have been the major factor towards us not making a reasonable profit from these evenings.”
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.