PREMIER Denis Napthine is an old hand at ribbon cutting, but in Warrnambool on Friday night he took it to a new level.
Using a sword, Dr Napthine officially opened the Heritage Works Centre on Gilles Street, a $164,750 project that has brought all of Warrnambool’s heritage groups together on one site.
A relocatable building from Deakin University was moved behind the Mozart Hall last year and provides the Warrnambool and District Historical Society and Warrnambool Family History Group with 240 square metres of space.
Previously the historical society operated from History House, on Gilles Street, while the Warrnambool Family History Group was headquartered at Flagstaff Hill. The project also included a refurbishment of the kitchen at Mozart Hall and new toilet facilities.
Historical society president Glenys Phillpot said the new centre doubled the resources and intellectual expertise available to both groups.
Mrs Phillpot said the best thing about the project was the way the three groups involved worked together.
“The family history group, historical society and Mozart Hall group all worked closely on this project,” she said.
“The new building has given us more room for our archives and research equipment.
“Also the honour board from the library, which had previously been hidden away, has been relocated to the centre and is now on prominent display.”
Mrs Phillpot said Dr Napthine was also enlightened about his own family history, being presented with a photo of his great-grandfather’s brother.
“The Premier said ‘I wonder if one of my early ancestors is on there’ (the honour board), which he is, so we pointed it out to him,” she said.
Dr Napthine said the project had been funded with a $35,000 grant from the state government’s putting locals first program, $38,000 from the Warrnambool City Council, $85,000 from local philanthropic trusts with the remainder coming from in-kind donations from the historical society and Rotary club.
“Now that all the historical resources of the two history groups are combined, easily accessible and well organised, the task of providing the information that researchers seek is now much easier to deliver and a more complete service,” he said.