Former councillor Rose Swadling and Heritage Village volunteer Rhonda Nielsen prepare for a campfire dinner. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin
Former councillor Rose Swadling and Heritage Village volunteer Rhonda Nielsen prepare for a campfire dinner. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin

New plan revealed for Heritage Village upgrades

New signage, entrance upgrades and a carpark tidy-up are part of initial plans to bring the Rockhampton Heritage Village back up to scratch.

The venue was closed to the public in response to coronavirus restrictions in March 2020. 

In July, Rockhampton Regional Council announced it would be keeping the facility closed so it could assess the venue's future and workshop to make a new business plan.

At the time, then-mayor Margaret Strelow said there was a need for change due to the lack of international visitors, fewer southern visitors, disruptive roadworks outside, declining visitor numbers and difficulty completing a COVID Safe Plan for multiple dwellings.

The report stated that in 2018-19 the Heritage Village had 41,313 visitors.

Volunteers riding the horse and carriage at the Rockhampton Heritage Village. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin
Volunteers riding the horse and carriage at the Rockhampton Heritage Village. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin

Since the closure, a series of workshops, site visits and reports have gone through various levels of council.

A total of $1 million has been allocated in the draft budget for works at the Heritage Village, split over the next two years.

This week an operational review and business plan hit the council table, detailing the review of the existing business operations of the Heritage Village and recommendations for the future of the facility.

The report was received enthusiastically by the councillors who congratulated everyone on their efforts.

As part of the business investigations, it was revealed the shearing shed functions had been running at a loss, with the main expense being labour.

It was approved that the shearing shed and other facilities are to be hired out on a dry-hire basis only where external companies can be used to provide catered events.

The initial stage 1 - capital works program, with a budget of $385,000, was approved and includes the following:

  • The current carpark gardens are made to be more maintenance friendly and tree pruning be carried out;
  • Signage - Wayfinding signage upon entering the carpark and to identify and guide visitors to the entrance;
  • Entrance improvements, including fencing and visual screening around back of house - An entrance feature to be installed to help identify the entrance of the village and for the back of house area to have a fencing treatment installed to block vision to these areas.

The community and volunteers at the Heritage Village will be consulted and involved with the process.

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