St Clair — history in the making Goulburn Post

St Clair - history in the making Goulburn Post

By GERARD WALSH

ST Clair is back from the brink after councillors supported the allocation of an initial $410,500 for upgrades.

St Clair’s Christmas wish

A NUMBER of the Goulburn and District Historical Society members were on hand at St Clair yesterday, two days after Council had granted more than $800,000 in funding for repair of the once condemned homestead.

Work will begin by Christmas, says general manager Warwick Bennett.

“We are putting up the contracts for roof repairs next week to begin the tender process,” Mr Bennett said.

“We can’t guarantee it will be open before Christmas but work will have started.”

He said the overwhelming response from Councillors in support of the works was one driven by community support.

“Councillors were very clear from early on that they wanted to see St Clair remain opened and preserved.”

Vice President of the Historical Society Gordon Thompson said work had resumed as usual — compiling, cataloguing and cleaning.

He said the entire committee were thankful for the Council’s support, and couldn’t wait to bring people through the archives again.

​Full report below.

History in the making

ST Clair is back from the brink after councillors supported the allocation of an initial $410,500 for upgrades.

Goulburn Mulwaree general manager Warwick Bennett’s report on the future of the 1843 built former villa, received high praise at Tuesday night’s council meeting.

“It’s a lot of money but that’s what the community wants,” St Clair working party member Cr Robin Saville said.

Council closed the building, housing the Goulburn and District Historical Society’s archives and museum, in March because of safety concerns.

A report at the time estimated more than $1.5 million in remedial work would be needed.

Mayor Geoff Kettle had described the deteriorating building as “a noose around our neck’ as talk of a possible sale grew momentum.

However, on Tuesday night councillors vowed to support Mr Bennett’s call that “we have an ethical obligation to ensure that it is preserved for future generations.”

Cr Sam Rowland declared, “I am prepared to invest in St Clair.”

Cr Margaret O’Neill conceded she originally had doubts: “I wanted it closed …” “But to investigate this money, we’ve had to justify it.

The working party has come up with some constructive stuff… let’s move forward on this for the ratepayer in general,” she said.

Cr Andrew Banfield asked that the $27,500 Mr Bennett allocated to investigate floor load capacity, be used to fix damage caused by rising damp.

“Rising damp… that would be 60 — 70 per cent of the whole (repair cost) of the building,” he said.

“Let’s not half-arse it, let’s do it properly.”

St Clair - history in the making Goulburn Post

His feedback will be discussed by the working party.

Mr Bennett in his report wrote “In my opinion, it is a fabulous asset to Goulburn.

this report’s intention is to start the process of re-opening and re-vitalisation of the museum’s facilities.”

The working party, to be chaired by Cr Saville, will also consider options for a “purpose- built” climatically controlled and vermin free archival and storage facility, to be constructed at the rear of Sloane Street property.

“The role of the working party should be to have a building designed and they will need the appropriate financial resources to undertake that work,” Mr Bennett wrote.

The first upgrade phase will include the provision of $290,000 for roof replacements; $3000 to fix large wall cracks; $75,000 to improve ground drainage; $27,500 for floor load capacity investigations (subject to working party discussion), and $415,000 towards brickworks at the rear exit door.

Another $435,000 has been earmarked in the 2015/16 budget for rising damp solutions, mortar repainting; window, veranda and chimney repairs, and lower ground timber floor removal

Forward thinking

GOULBURN Historical Society president Garry White said that it was great news that the funds have finally been made available for the restoration of St Clair.

“The new manager (Warwick Bennett) for the project really is looking forward rather then backwards,” Mr White said.

He was initially surprised that all funds were acquired.

“The new manager had a look through St Clair and he was prepared to fix everything,” he said.

“There is so much work needed to be done on the building, all we needed was someone to follow the whole project through, instead of doing it in increments.

“The manager’s thorough report I think is what got all of the councillors onside.”


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