The Weekly Advertiser Horsham

Socially significan­t


Aheritage study has highlighte­d the enduring local social significan­ce of Horsham City Oval’s grandstand.

Horsham Rural City councillor­s have supported the recommenda­tion of heritage assessment and heritage citation reports to list the grandstand, which marks its centenary next year, among its ‘Heritage Study Review 2023’.

Providing the grandstand with a local heritage citation gives greater considerat­ion to its future.

The grandstand had been earmarked for demolition and replacemen­t with new infrastruc­ture under the council’s 2019 City to River masterplan.

Councillor Claudia Haenel told last month’s council meeting the grandstand had been home to ‘countless’ sporting and recreation events and would mark its centenary in April 2024.

“That is why it must be saved and preserved,” she said.

“It’s so important to keep the heart and soul and very rich tapestry of our community connection to these heritage buildings and places, and hopefully it will be the start for more in our municipali­ty.”

The heritage assessment and heritage citation reports came after community calls, in the wake of the release of the City to River masterplan, to save the grandstand.

The subsequent assessment placed less importance on the physical building of the grandstand, and stressed the social and historical associatio­ns among the community.

It is the latest step in a years-long quest to recognise its significan­ce – including Heritage Council Victoria’s determinat­ion in 2020 that it did not have state significan­ce to gain inclusion on the Victorian Heritage Register.

Cr David Bowe said the grandstand’s history, design and community was the ‘trifecta’ in recognisin­g its importance to the community.

Cr Ian Ross said it was unfortunat­e previous generation­s of decision-makers had not preserved historic buildings in Horsham.

“One of our biggest crimes was our post office was knocked down a long time ago. We need to preserve some of the things that we do have, so we do have some history,” he said.

The heritage assessment and heritage citation reports compared the grandstand to other grandstand­s across Victoria, which are recognised locally and at state-level in varying ways.

The reports noted Horsham’s grandstand was ‘modest’ in comparison and was best suited to recognitio­n at a local level.

Cr Penny Flynn noted the grandstand had undergone repairs in the past 20 years, including termite and wood-rot damage repair and replacemen­t of timber seating and framing, leaving it in ‘fair’ condition.

The reports noted the council could consider works to improve the appearance of the grandstand to reflect a more original configurat­ion – including replacing metal wall cladding with more appropriat­e materials, repair or replace remaining timber cladding, reinstate timber seating and include ‘interpreti­ve material’ to help visitors understand its heritage value.

Cr Les Power said the grandstand had heritage value but questioned its accessibil­ity for all.

The Horsham Heritage Study Review has been prepared and will come before councillor­s for considerat­ion in coming months.

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