Kandos Industrial Museum Lives

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I’ve mentioned the local museum in a previous post and that I hoped it would reopen soon. The building is special to me as it is the closest relation in town to the Convent with its distinctive Spanish mission style architecture.

Unfortunately it has been dogged by controversy and conflict over the last year or so which led to it being closed to the public mid last year. The Council have now committed to funding renovations and are handing ownership of the property over to the community via what will be a newly formed incorporated association.

Action is happening quickly with packers moving in this week to pack and store parts of the collection so renovations can begin. After all the past controversy, it is encouraging and inspiring to see the community get behind this project. The Museum is important to the locals as both the repository of their history and as a potential attraction to visitors and they are justly proud of the collection that they have built themselves.

The Museum is distinctive in that it reflects Kandos’s heritage as an industrial town – with a twentieth century past that has been forged out of mining and the cement works that founded the town. Unlike most rural museums, it is less pastoral and focuses on industries that flourished during the period of heroic nation-building. The collection has been described as idiosyncratic – it has it’s quirky elements such as the cement dress which was constructed by an HSC student and the Lady Bushranger’s teapot, but it also has a fascinating collection from cement and mining works which have played such an important and often undervalued role in building our country. These elements are often overlooked as we prefer to romanticise our pastoral heritage.

Over the past few days I’ve been helping record the museum collection as it gets packed and it has been a pleasure to meet the founding members who have popped in with words of encouragement. A sense of excitement is growing as we can see the Museum having a new lease of life (and a facelift).

The plan is that it will reopen prior to the town’s centenary celebrations over the October long weekend. There’s an enormous amount of work to do to get us to that point but if the level of support received so far is any indication, we’ll get there and have a grand reopening.

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