Upgrade works at Gilgandra’s Cooee Heritage Centre will commence this week with successful contractor, Dubbo Terrazzo and Concrete Industries taking over the site.
The works will include a modern and accessible entranceway, new flooring and painting to the Visitor Information and retail space, air conditioning to the galleries, upgraded internal glass doors, new amenities, office and storage spaces, deck area overlooking the river and improvements to the kitchen facilities.
Mayor Doug Batten says the project was a welcome and exciting upgrade for the Gilgandra community.
“The Coo-ee Heritage Centre is a beautiful building that tells a story of our history for locals and visitors alike to view,” he said.
“The upgrades to the Centre as well as the Windmill Walk, from the CBD in Miller Street to the Rural Museum will only enhance this story and provide positive impact to our local economy.”
He said an exciting component of the proposed works was the construction of a deck, with views over the Castlereagh River and new landscaped gardens.
Council General Manager, David Neeves said upgrades were in line with Council’s strategic planning documents to offer a well-represented and functional visitor centre and cultural experience to residents and visitors.
“There was extensive Council and community consultation through the development of Council’s Gilgandra Cultural Precinct Strategic Plan which focusses on three key themes namely Military heritage; Landscape, including the natural environment and farming; and our Aboriginal heritage,” he said.
“The upgrades are a beginning of an exciting way of promoting Gilgandra, attracting new visitor markets and communicating in today’s world of social media and information technology. The Centre will reopen with the new Gilgandra region website, marketing collateral and new interactive elements aimed to attract increased visitation.”
The project has seen interactions with the Gilgandra Aboriginal Stakeholder Group. Meeting regularly, this group has been developing initiatives and projects to be hosted in the Joy Trudgett Gallery upon re-opening.
“Our local aboriginal community have embraced the redevelopment of the Joy Trudgett Gallery. The input from this group is key to ensuring the stories and history is told. A key theme coming from this is Gilgandra as a ‘meeting place’ and that is something we are embracing across our initiatives in promoting Gilgandra,” said Mayor Batten.
“Another element is the oral history project, where members of our local Aboriginal community are being interviewed to tell their story. It is planned that these will form part of a Story Tree in the Joy Trudgett Gallery for locals and visitors to listen to as they learn about the history, and current successes in the community.”
There will be a commercial lease component at the CHC when it reopens, with Council currently in negotiations with a current Gilgandra business.
The total Gilgandra Cultural Precinct project is estimated at $2.7m, with a split contribution from Council, the NSW Government’s Create NSW Regional Cultural Fund, the Federal Government’s Local Roads and Community Infrastructure and Drought Communities Program.
You can find out more about the project, view the plans and see the key outcomes and priorities of the Centre here.
The expected timeframe for the project is to finalise construction and complete external components such as landscaping and carparking, for the Cooee Heritage Centre to reopen in early 2022. This will also complement the commencement of Gilgandra’s trial of the Free Overnight Parking Area between the Rural Museum and CHC.
It is planned that the Visitor Information Centre will operate out of The GIL for the duration of the construction period, with commencement of the GIL Library Hub construction to start early 2022.