Exhibition to test waters for Balclutha hub
A South Otago Historical Society museum exhibition will open to the public next month.
The exhibition will be based in the former Balclutha Borough Council boardroom at the Balclutha War Memorial Hall. The historical society, which runs the South Otago Museum on Renfrew St at Balclutha, commissioned a mural and 3D photographs, based on a graphic depiction of the Clutha River, and its social and cultural history.
It will open on November 18. The mural was designed in Melbourne and printed in Christchurch, with the whole project, including refurbishing the old council chamber, costing $6000, which was paid for by the historical society, president Kevin Barron, said.
‘‘It’s coming together really well. Up until now, we’ve been wrecking things, and pulling [the chamber] apart, but by the 18th, it should be looking pretty swish.’’
The off-site exhibition provided an opportunity to see if a museum could be incorporated into the community hub proposed in the redevelopment of the war memorial complex, he said.
‘‘This is a precursor to get people’s feedback on what they’d like to see happening at the town hall site.’’
While Barron was also leading the council-community Our Place Balclutha project to redevelop the town hall, the museum project was not part of that, as it had been started much earlier.
The Balclutha-born builder’s Christchurch-based company Timbercore built the first new commercial building in central Christchurch, the Epic innovation hub, following the devastating February 2011 earthquake. He plans to permanently retire to his home town next year, and is looking forward to getting stuck into community-led projects.
The Balclutha War Memorial Hall is dear to his heart: Barron remembers it being worked on when he was a 5-year-old, and his father was a returned serviceman from World War II.
‘‘We want to tell the story, before one brick is moved.’’
He also wanted to look at how the Clutha River could be worked into the the design of a new community hub. ‘‘We have a very prominent river, and people don’t even know it’s there.’’
‘‘This is a precursor to get people's feedback on what they'd like to see happening at the town hall site.’’
South Otago Historical Society president Kevin Barron points to the site of the Balclutha War Memorial Hall on a mural of the Clutha River, which will be open for public display in November.