(Left): Byron Shire Council Mayor Simon Richardson, Bangalow Historical Society life member Margaret Brown and President Vivienne Gorec with MLC Ben Franklin and volunteer Tracey Wild.
(Left): Byron Shire Council Mayor Simon Richardson, Bangalow Historical Society life member Margaret Brown and President Vivienne Gorec with MLC Ben Franklin and volunteer Tracey Wild. Mary Nelson

Heritage House to get major makeover

IMPROVEMENTS to a favourite stopping-off point in Bangalow will soon start after a major funding boost.

Located on the corner of Ashton and Deacon Streets, the Bangalow Heritage House Museum and Cafe has an interesting collection of local memorabilia and historic photographs which provide an insight into the history of the cedar-cutters and farmers who settled the area.

The house and museum, a base for the Bangalow Historical Society, has attracted a $330,000 grant from the NSW Government.

Society president Vivienne Gorec said that would pay to replace the ramp and front stairs, extend the kitchen and build a new extended display area, including a family computer space.

"I'm interested in getting this room on the back because it's going to be a proper display area, with room for travelling exhibitions," she said.

"Nationals Parliamentary Secretary for Northern NSW, Ben Franklin, has been very much behind the project.

"If it hadn't been for the council's acting general manager, Mark Arnold, this project would never have got off the ground.

"He has been excellent in getting this going for us. He deserves the accolades."

Byron Shire Council owns the heritage house, which was built 94 years ago. It was moved from Brunswick Heads and became a base for the Bangalow Historical Society in 1994 on the site of a preschool.

"We're not going to waste a cent. Every penny of the grant is going to be spent on this building," Vivienne said.

"It's only ever been painted twice and that was by volunteers and Lions (club members)."

 

Bangalow Heritage House Museum and Café to undergo a major extension.
Bangalow Heritage House Museum and Café to undergo a major extension. Mary Nelson

Vivienne moved to Bangalow in 1983 and loved the historical look of the town.

She's now one of the custodians of the heritage items donated by local families to the historical society, such as possessions of the former town doctor and station-master.

The refurbishment will assist in the creation of a public access centre with digital capability so that locals can link to family history records held by the NSW Government at the State Library of New South Wales.

With a bigger house, cafe and museum will come the need for more volunteers.

Cataloguing of the objects is in progress, new exhibitions are in the works, as is a revamp of the collection displays.

Anyone passionate about preserving local history is welcome to volunteer, whether it's to help in the café, wait on tables, or take care of the museum and welcome visitors, training will be provided.

The first settler in the Bangalow district was Thomas Robinson who bought land near the present town site in 1881.

In 1903, 100 allotments of land were auctioned by local developer, Robert Campbell.

A fire devastated many of the town's timber buildings in 1907. This same year the town became known as Bangalow.

The fourth fire in the town in 1939 led to insurance companies demanding that new buildings be constructed out of bricks rather than timber.

Find out more about the history of this town at the Bangalow Heritage House Museum and Cafe, open weekdays from 9.30am-3pm.


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