A MASTERPLAN for turning St Brigid’s Church at Crossley into an Australian-Irish Cultural Heritage Centre will be unveiled for the first time on April 26.
While the church will still be available for weddings and funerals, the Friends of St Brigid’s are launching what they say is an ambitious but achievable blueprint that will lead to the building becoming a possible tourist attraction.
Friends of St Brigid’s secretary Teresa O’Brien said the group used a $30,000 grant from the state government’s department of planning and community development to engage consultants and prepare a business plan, concept design and feasibility study.
She said the group was ready to launch it to the public and was excited about the future.
The business plan, concept design and feasibility study sets out a strategy for the next three years that will help turn the church into interactive, user-friendly and technologically advanced displays highlighting the history of the Irish in the region, while still being removable or hideable to allow the church to operate when required.
“It’s taken six years to get to this point and to have a document that affirms everything we’ve been doing is achievable and now we have a road map for where to go from here,” Ms O’Brien said.
The plan emphasises affording its goals by maintaining current levels of fund-raising and grant-gaining, while still meeting the mortgage repayments necessary after the community purchased the church, hall and surrounding grounds. Phase one of the development is expected to cost $60,000, phase two $75,000 and phase three $45,000.
Ms O’Brien said the finished product would be the first of its kind in Australia.
“We want it to be a place of living culture — everything we’re doing at St Brigid’s is about culture.”
The masterplan will be launched at the church on April 26 at 5.30pm. State planning minister Matthew Guy, Warrnambool mayor Jacinta Ermacora and Moyne mayor Jim Doukas are expected to attend.