July 21, 2017
Calls for formal expressions of interest to take over the operation of Nanango’s historic Ringsfield House have failed to produce any offers.
The historic building, designed by Queensland architect Robin Dods in 1908 for the Graham family, was operated for the past 20 years by the Nanango Historical Society.
In March the Society reluctantly relinquished control of the Council-owned property, citing an ageing membership and lack of volunteers to carry out routine maintenance work as reasons they were unable to continue running the complex.
Ringsfield closed its doors to the public on March 31 to allow Society members to catalogue all the historical artifacts held there, and formal expressions of interest for a new operator were invited on May 19.
Expressions of interest closed on June 30, and while three separate groups had expressed verbal interest in taking over Ringsfield, none were willing to commit that interest to paper.
The Council is now attempting to contact them in an effort to find out why they did not follow through.
The lack of a new operator means the main building at Ringsfield will remain closed to the public.
Some smaller buildings and parts of the complex’s grounds are still being used by several Nanango community groups with Council’s permission.
In the meantime, the Council has appointed a part-time groundskeeper to look after Ringsfield’s gardens three days per week from July through to the end of September.
The Council also propose to spend $97,000 on miscellaneous painting and building repairs at the complex if its second round of Works For Queensland projects are approved.
At Thursday night’s meeting of the Nanango Tourism and Development Association, president Gloria Kirkness said she thought it was a shame one of Nanango’s most important tourist attractions was sitting idle during peak tourism months.
“The closure of Ringsfield also means that local people who used it for weddings, functions and school formals can no longer do so, which is a great loss to the community,” she said.
“I do hope the Council can find a solution to this problem quickly.”