A project to revitalise the upstairs section of Bellingen’s Memorial Hall is one of three successful recipients of local Heritage Near Me Activation Grants.
They are among 33 projects across NSW that will share in $2.67 million of state government funding to provide for the upgrade, expansion, restoration or conservation of locally-listed heritage sites.
“The grants for the projects in Bellingen, Gladstone and Wauchope will upgrade and enhance important community facilities and sites," Oxley MP Melinda Pavey said.
“I’m pleased to be able to support the crucial role played by heritage owners and managers, and congratulate all three applicants on their efforts to bring our local heritage to life.”
The grant of $92,243 will allow Bellingen Shire Council to renovate and reactivate the upstairs section of Bellingen Soldiers Memorial Hall.
The registered War Memorial Soldiers Window will be reinstalled in its original location and vintage artefacts from the old bio box film projector room will be put on display.
Following the renovation works, the area will be used as a community co-working space, a community meeting room and a leased office, generating revenue to be used for the hall’s future maintenance. The upstairs area will also be made available to schools and visitors upon request.
To raise awareness of the readapted upstairs area and foster an appreciation for the hall’s exceptional history, council will also install interpretive signage in the downstairs foyer.
“This is great news for our community as it will not only protect the historic heritage for future generations but it will create a usable space for groups and encourage networking opportunities and social participation,” Bellingen Shire Mayor, Cr Dominic King, said.
The project is intended to increase public access, enhance enjoyment, ensure financial sustainability and unveil the hall’s remarkable story.
Council is still waiting to hear about the outcome of a grant application for $335,000 from the Stronger Country Communities Fund to refurbish other parts of the Memorial Hall.
Kempsey Shire Council received $14,205 for new awning and signage for Gladstone Hall and Art Gallery and Wauchope Chamber of Commerce Inc received $92,064 to enhance the awareness and appeal of history and heritage along the Wauchope Riverside Walk by installation of solar lighting, interpretive signage, a monument, sculpture and artworks along the boardwalk, footpath, grassed areas, and on the abutment of the railway bridge underpass.
This year marks the third round of Heritage Near Me Activation Grants. Over the three years, a total of $8 million has been awarded to support 107 local heritage projects across the state.