Councillors get a sneak peek at museum’s transformation

Cobar Shire Councillors (and The Cobar Weekly’s photographer) were given a tour of the museum last week to see first hand how the renovations of the building are going. The councillors are pictured on the ground floor with council’s general manager Peter Vlatko, project coordinator Carly Hunter and architect Ashley Dunn.

Cobar Shire Councillors toured the Cobar museum building last week to get an insight into how the renovation work is progress-ing.
The former administration building, built in 1910 for the Great Cobar Copper Mine, and has been home to the museum for more than 40 years, is now being restored.
Funding for the project, which totals just over $2.5million, comes from the Regional Culture Fund with $295,603 granted to Coun-cil in Round 1 plus another $398,188 which came from Round 2.
An additional $1,425,000 was granted to the museum restoration project from the Far North West Joint Organisation funding with Coun-cil’s contribution to the project totaling $435,000.
During last Thursday’s tour councillors could see that much of the top floor demolition and restoration work has now been completed.
The focus for the specialised building team from David Payne Constructions is now on the lower ground floor along with finishing the external work to verandahs, the amenities and the construction of new garden beds.
Council’s project coordinator Carly Hunter, accompanied councillors on last week’s tour to explain how exhibitions will be laid out and how each room is to be re-purposed.
Mrs Hunter was pleased to report to council-lors that the building work is on target and is expected to be completed by mid June.
She said the development and fit out of the exhibitions will then take place and Council expects the final fit out should be completed by late June/early July.
The project’s architect, Ashley Dunn from Dunn and Hillam Architects, also joined the tour to explain to councillors how the building was being brought back to its original state and also explained some of the work that was be-ing done to ensure the building is preserved for the future.
Mr Dunn pointed out partition walls (that had been added in later years) have now been removed and doorways that had been previous-ly closed off, have been re-opened.
He said all of the windows in the building were being restored including a number of windows that had badly deteriorated after they had been covered over by displays for many years.
Mr Dunn said he was particularly pleased to see the old pay windows in the paymaster’s office, which had previously been boarded over and which were an important historical feature of the former mine administration of-fice, have been brought back to life and will be used as part of the museum’s exhibition.
The mine’s original safe room (which he said would have only been accessible by the mine manager) is also going to be brought back into service and has been earmarked for storing some of the museum’s most important relics.
Mr Dunn said the building itself has its own story to tell about Cobar’s history and he was pleased to see the engineer’s original northern side entry door into the building is also brought back into use.
He said returning this access to the building will allow museum visitors in the future to move easily out of the building onto the re-stored wrap-around verandah and then to con-tinue on to view the outside exhibits.
Mr Dunn told councillors by relocating the staff offices, along with rooms that were previ-ously used for filing and storage, from down-stairs to upstairs, the bottom floor of the build-ing will be able to offer visitors the same amount of exhibition space as there was prior to the renovations with all of the displays now on one accessible level.