The hands and minds behind a cherished community space in Mudgegonga, that has been 10 years in the making, have been recognised.
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning has launched an award for the groups of volunteers who manage their Crown reserves.
The Mudgegonga Hall Committee of Management were acknowledged for their "stoic determination" in creating a hub for the community, which was among the hardest hit in the 2009 fires.
Works have been done over a 10-year period to the hall on Myrtleford-Yackandandah Road, the most recent being completed at the end of last year.
Former committee chairman Neil Hodge said this installation was envisaged as part of a masterplan.
"There was money donated after the fires, so we made some changes to the main hall such as moving the stage and building the section with the new meeting room and toilets," he said.
"The kitchen was fully refurbished and the deck built.
"The pavilion was the last step of the master plan we developed after the fires - it was opened in December.
"The reflection area was finished a few months ago - we originally had ideas like putting in a pergola out the back, but we saw how people gravitated out to the deck and decided to put it there.
"We've accomplished what was on the wish-list after the fires, so now we'll have a period of not having major projects."
The major renovation in 2012 was a turning point for the site, which has been the subject of many grants.
Mr Hodge, who has been part of the committee for more than 15 years, said the upgrade had not been without its issues with "tension" at times with the Alpine Shire over the various plans.
"It's great to see it now," he said.
"It's such a change from what it was ... it was pretty rugged.
"Before the fires there we were only meeting six-monthly, and now we meet monthly - this committee has been a really active one.
"We've had a fairly healthy bank balance through grants and things, nibbling away at these ongoing projects, and now we are at a point where we do need to be getting serious about fundraising."
Community members have managed the reserve under an agreement with the state government since the late 1880s and an original hall at the Mudgegonga site was destroyed in a storm.
Over the years individual events and periods of service have been recognised by the state, but DELWP has launched the committee of management awards to annually recognise the groups, who are appointed at three year intervals.
There were 11 inaugural recipients in the North East.
Chairwoman Coral Love said the accolade brought a "sense of achievement".
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"I can't stress enough how important it is for the committee to have DELWP and the shire supporting us," she said.
"I think the award is a good thing for this community, as we've been chipping away for a long time and it's a nice feeling to get to the end.
"It's a time for us to now enjoy it, and focus more on the events we hold."
Ms Love said following the fires the hall was "the lifeblood" for community members who would have otherwise become isolated on their properties.
"I think it was really hard for the communities who had their halls burned down, having to come together in portables," she said.
The hall was a familiar space then, and even more so now acts as a hub for the wider community.
The most popular offerings of late from the committee have been 'happy hours' and 'casserole nights'.
Committee member Julie Carter said the sense of community was what got her involved.
"The first time we came here was to meet people as newbies, and there were about 80 people here for this happy hour," she said.
"It's surprising the number of people we get and the more impromptu the event is, the more people we have along."
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