It has a rich history. It does belong to the town.Concert performer Julie McErlain
The Moyne Shire has removed its advertisement for the sale of two pianos from Port Fairy’s Reardon Theatre after public outcry.
An 1885 Grotrian Steinweg grand piano and a German upright piano were advertised for sale by tender from December due to space restrictions in the theatre and a lack of use from user groups.
But the Moyne Shire’s manager of recreation and community development Jacquie Anderton said the council had decided to review the decision to put the pianos up for sale by public tender.
“The advertising has been taken down and the council will discuss it at its January workshops,” she said.
Mayor Mick Wolfe said the pianos would be discussed at the next workshop on Tuesday.
Cr Wolfe allayed fears that the pianos would be leaving the shire.
“They certainly won’t be leaving the Moyne Shire,” he said.
He said the original intention behind the advertisement was to find expressions of interest in the pianos and not for financial gain.
He said council wanted to find suitable community groups that would house the pianos.
The council would still own the pianos while community groups took them in.
Port Fairy Historical Society member Marten Syme was concerned about the advertisement of the pianos and contacted numerous people at council.
On Friday he dropped a formal letter into council’s chief executive Bill Millard.
On Monday he sent an email to mayor Mick Wolfe and councillor Jordan Lockett.
Mr Syme wrote about the Steinweg piano in his recent book Port Fairy: The town that kept its character.
He said the piano was an integral part of the town’s Lecture Hall and he would like to see it returned there.
“That would my preference for its location,” he said.
But Cr Wolfe said the Port Fairy Theatre Group at the Lecture Hall had been approached and it didn’t want the pianos stored there.
Mr Syme said that if not the Lecture Hall, he felt there were other places in the community where the Steinweg would be valued.
Like Mr Syme, professional pianist and concert performer Julie McErlain said she didn’t want the Steinweg piano to leave Port Fairy.
“It has a rich history. It does belong to the town,” she said.
“If it was a cricket bat, sporting memorabilia, a maritime relic, it would not be ever sold off.”