New look for historic museum


If there was one museum in the world that didn’t mind a Covid-19 enforced two-month closure it was Singleton Historic Society and Museum.

A new roof that was four years in dire need of repair is now complete, perfect timing for the reopening of the Burdekin Park venue earlier this month.  No one could be happier than Society president, Peggy Moore.   You see, every time it rained Mrs Moore would rush to her car, drive to the museum and spread the buckets around to protect the invaluable displays due to the leaking roof.

The $691,000 project was funded by a NSW Government Stronger Country Communities grant of $539,000 and a Council contribution of $152,000.

Local building firm, Perram & Toohey Builders Pty Ltd, were awarded the contract and owners Andrew Knox and Shane Proctor, were equally relieved at the contract timing during the Covid lockdown because of the sudden loss of general work.

“It kept our apprentices in work and it was an interesting job given the need to incorporate the historic components of the building,” Mr Knox said.

Items like retaining an old slate step while constructing a glass sliding entry door and relocating the display items into five storage sheds and acquiring additional storage space for the larger horse buggies with Hayward engineering coming to the rescue.

With eight to 10 people on site at any one time, the 3000 hour job went according to plan and the result literally shines new light on the old space.

The project began in mid-January and was officially completed at the end of May. A key feature was raising the level of the roof in the rear annexe by 600mm, and installing translucent sheeting to create a light, bright exhibition space. And with a new roof above it all, there’ll be no need for buckets the next time it rains.

During the renovation, display discoveries for Mrs Moore and her team of dedicated volunteers were found in the shadows and corners of the building.

“We found items we didn’t even know we had but now we have to find new space to display which has been a huge task in itself,” Mrs Moore said.

A huge task yes, but one that brings renewed excitement to all who step through those brand new front doors.

It has also been an exciting job for Singleton Council project engineer, Sam Walker.  It was Mr Walker’s first major project, previous experience has been in the council road sector so he took on this project with great enthusiasm and on the whole, it went to plan.

“There is a lot of work that goes into a project before anything can happen, design, planning for heritage requirements, taking it out to tender but it has been great working with a good, local company and most things went to plan and it is a great result,” Mr Walker said.

Singleton Museum is located in Burdekin Park, entry off Elizabeth and Bourke Street, and is open from 12 to 4pm weekends and Tuesdays from 10am to 1pm.

Covid restrictions are in place consistence with NSW Government guidelines.

*This story was published on Friday, June 19 2020.