Ex­hi­bi­tion to test wa­ters for Bal­clutha hub

Clutha Leader - - DELTA ROD AND CUSTOM CLUB - MARY-JO TO­HILL

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.’’

MARY-JO TO­HILL/STUFF

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.

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