With Banana Shire Council’s consent, the TDDA embarked on a series of public meetings promoting the Leichhardt Centre. These consultations were extremely well supported by the community. A more recent survey, also very well subscribed, overwhelmingly showed that 92% of respondents supported the project, and as their first preference of the seven projects listed in the survey.
The TDDA received a grant under the Blueprint for the Bush Program to have concept plans developed for the building’s reconfiguration and commissioned architect Brian Hooper of Yeppoon. The plans allow for the building to be completely renovated inside, providing both for the Leichhardt Centre and ongoing use as a local service centre for the Banana Shire Council.
The Taroom community, indeed the entire Banana Shire, cannot bring this project to fruition without financial assistance to match the widespread popular interest and support. Even successful applications to the federal government’s regional development funding programs would be unlikely to meet the estimated $3million total cost of the project.
Partnerships, particularly those fostering tourism, educational and scientific links in this bicentenary of Leichhardt’s birth ~ and in the coming months of his greatest expedition's key anniversaries ~ are likely to prove fruitful.
It should not be overlooked that the actual building is one part of the project: to fulfil its charter, artefacts, memorabilia, displays and tributes to Ludwig Leichhardt will be needed. Discussions have begun with museums, governments (Australian and German), and various Leichhardt interest groups, to ascertain what is available and what may be obtained or loaned to display.
Taroom and its surrounding district has many links to Leichhardt and would be a most fitting location to house a tribute to one of the most remarkable men to ever travel throughout this great land.
Although he remains ‘out there, somewhere’ it is curious that, while Leichhardt’s name has been given to everything from caravan parks to highways, from rivers to electorates, there is as yet no physical centre in the great state of Queensland to honour his memory and his achievements, and which people from around the state, the country, and the world, can visit.
What better location than one block up the road from the tree Leichhardt blazed, above the banks of the river he named?
BLAZE ~ the project newsletter
Lauched in July 2013, BLAZE will be produced approximately every second month, or as developments require. For the time being, it is a double-sided A4 colour sheet. It can be viewed on-screen by clicking the individual page links below, or you can download each issue as a PDF.
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