Murgon to showcase rich history with $1.6 million boost
MURGON’S Country Creative Association received $1,596,514 to construct a purpose-built cultural centre.
The new centre, which is set to include an art gallery, fossil museum, art workshop, gift shop, and central prehistoric garden, will showcase Murgon’s important prehistoric links and herald a bright future for local tourism, jobs, and the community.
“This is a bold, innovative project that will capitalise on Murgon’s position as a significant Australian paleontological site, and will provide ongoing tourism and economic benefit for the community and the wider South Burnett region,” said Federal Member for Wide Bay Llew O’Brien.
Murgon is the only site in Australia with a range of vertebrate fossils dating from the early Paleogene Period 55 million years ago, which is considered a crucial time in mammalian evolution and is of special interest to professional and amateur palaeontologists.
“This project will create an immediate benefit with jobs during the planning and construction phase,” Mr O’Brien said.
“A project of this scale will transform Murgon, and ensure it remains strong, resilient and prosperous in the long term.
“I commend the project’s planners and backers including Richard O’Neill, Leo Geraghty, and Kathy Duff; and I look forward to seeing the new Cultural Centre becoming a focal point for community activity and a significant tourist attraction boosting economic prosperity, and creating jobs and new opportunities in our region.”
Councillor Kathy Duff has hailed the project as ‘the best thing that’s happened to this community’ since her election.
“We’ve been pushing for this for 16 years. It’s really boosted the moral of the community,” she said.
Glenda Geraghty, a Murgon local with a lifelong passion for natural history, has described the project as a ‘dream come true’.
Ms Murgon will be running the fossil museum and is thrilled for the opportunity to engage students in the natural history of the Murgon area.
“It’s (the Paleogene Period) a fantastic time in history. I can envisage busloads of children coming here from all over Queensland,” she said.
“We’re not just looking for tourism. I want this to be educational. Maybe inspire some students to be paleontologists.”
Richard O’Neil, president of Murgon’s Country Creative Association, is thrilled for the opportunity to discover unseen talent in the South Burnett area.
“You don’t know what kind of talent is out there until the opportunity presents itself,” said Mr O’Neil.
“This culture centre will give talented people in the community the opportunity to meet and display their work.”
The Murgon Cultural Centre was one of five projects in Wide Bay to share in $1.8 million through Round 5 of the Building Better Regions Program, with other projects including $60,000 for the Noosa Alive arts and cultural festival; $42,539 for Noosa disability service Sunshine Butterflies; $20,000 to upgrade the 30-year-old toilets and showers at the Cooroy Badminton Club Hall; and $140,000 to construct a new educational and activity centre at Hope Reins in Gympie.