RICHMOND Valley Council has handed over the keys of the new Evans Head Living Museum building to the museum’s dedicated volunteers.
The refurbished 1920s school building has undergone an extensive renovation courtesy of Richmond Valley Council, and will provide a stable home for the museum’s treasures for many years to come.
The Living Museum and former Community Technology Centre buildings were moved from their former site on Woodburn Street to make way for a $6.3 million HealthOne facility.
Council worked closely with the museum’s committee to investigate suitable locations, with the final home being within the Reflections Holiday Park on a piece of Crown land managed by Council.
Richmond Valley Mayor Robert Mustow said it had always been Council’s aim to see the museum brought back into use, however, the first steps were to follow through on the initial commitment to make sure both buildings were renovated for maximum benefit.
Cr Mustow said converting the second building into a visitor information centre would complement the museum’s offerings, encouraging visitation from locals and visitors interested in the culture and heritage aspects of Evans Head and surrounds.
He said visitors to Evans Head would not only hear from locals with a wealth of knowledge, but enjoy a more memorable holiday by learning something new about the area.
“Promoting our area’s real points of difference, including our heritage and cultural identity, through the Living Museum and information centre will differentiate the Richmond Valley from other competing destinations,” Cr Mustow said.
The Evans Head Living Museum is staffed by dedicated volunteers who are involved in the collection, identification and interpretation of the rich human and natural resources which make up the history and development of Evans Head and area.
The collection focuses on seven major themes: World War II including the State heritage-listed Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome, Aboriginal history and culture, the natural environment, agriculture, fishing, sport and mining.
The new visitor information centre will also be volunteered-run, and will display fabulous handmade local goods.
The new centre will complement the service already offered by the Evans Head Bowlo and Council’s office by providing an important and reliable source for informing and educating visitors about local areas and tourism products.
With an upgrade planned for Council’s Evans Head administration building and library, it is anticipated the visitor centre will need to be used for temporary office space during the construction phase.
General Manager Vaughan Macdonald said Council provided an important leadership and coordination role for tourism through its economic development, events and tourism teams, which were responsible for the coordination of destination marketing activities and visitor information services.
He said given the significance of tourism to the Richmond Valley economy, and the competitiveness of tourism on the Northern Rivers, it was important the sector was maintained and strengthened as an economic driver.
“It is important that tourism stakeholders are mindful that although the Richmond Valley has many attractions and significant natural attributes, they are not particular to our region and many other destinations can make similar claims,” Mr Macdonald said.