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Hotel's lifeline keeps ukulele group strumming after search for new home

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A much-loved ukulele group has found a new home after a sudden eviction from its previous location of six years.

A call-out from the Parkbench Ukulele Players in October pulled at the heartstrings of the Noosa community as the group searched for a new place for its weekly public jams.

The group had been playing on Monday mornings at the Noosa Marina, but it was approached by management and asked to cease operations.

Thanks to a groundswell of support and suggestions on a new location, the group now has a new home at the Royal Mail Hotel at Tewantin.

Meeting for a casual weekly singalong and strum, the group focuses on fun and friendship, and has become popular with passers-by and those enjoying a morning coffee.

It has grown from small beginnings in the Tewantin RSL park to more than 400 members.

The group posted to social media on October 16, announcing it would be its last day at the Noosa Marina and that it would begin looking for new locations.

The group’s founder Terry Nolan said the musicians were invited by the Harbour Wine Bar owners to use the space as an all-weather venue and had been doing so for the past six years.

He said the new owners of the renamed Marina Bar Noosa were happy for the arrangement to continue, however the group was “shocked” by the sudden decision from the Noosa Marina.

“I met with marina management … to determine the reason for our eviction and was told it was a purely commercial decision, not noise or council involvement,” Mr Nolan said.

“Usually about 80 players gather each week for fun and friendship at the Marina Wine Bar area.

“Tourists arriving by ferry were delighted to see the group, joining the fun, singing along and videoing us.”

The Parkbench Ukulele Players now has more than 400 members.

Suggestions for a new location came flooding into the group, with Noosa Council also posting to social media stating it would help with the search.

A lifeline then came through from the Royal Mail Hotel at Tewantin, when a worker posted to the ukulele group’s Facebook page that the venue would be happy to welcome the musicians.

“The community support since has been overwhelming and heartening,” Mr Nolan said.

The group now meets every Wednesday from 9.45am to 11.15am in the bistro area prior to lunch.

“All age groups were welcomed and beginners were encouraged, as well as holidaying international and national visitors who returned regularly,” Mr Nolan said.

Noosa Marina general manager Warren Smith confirmed to Sunshine Coast News it was a commercial decision but declined to comment further.

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