July 11, 2018
The Wondai Regional Art Gallery will get a new kitchen and extra storage facilities soon, thanks to a $31,000 grant from the Federal Government.
On Wednesday, Member for Flynn Ken O’Dowd visited the gallery to announce its application to the Infrastructure Stream of the Building Better Regions Fund had been successful.
The project will allow the gallery to build a modern catering kitchen in place of the small, limited kitchen area it currently uses, along with a much-needed new storage area to house its growing collection of artworks.
Gallery curator Elaine Madill said the entire upgrade was expected to cost more than $60,000.
South Burnett Regional Council will contribute $15,000 towards the project with a long-term, low-interest loan and the volunteer committee that runs the gallery will make up the balance.
Retired Wondai builder Gil Smith will manage the project, with work expected to start in August.
Gil has managed several extensions to the gallery – developed inside the former Wondai Station Master’s residence – to help ensure the complex maintains its historic character.
Mr O’Dowd said he was very pleased to deliver the announcement on behalf of Regional Development Minister John McVeigh.
“This is a fantastic outcome for this wonderful community,” Mr O’Dowd said.
Elaine said that once the new kitchen was in place, the gallery would like to build a covered deck at the rear of the building to provide cafe services for locals and passing tourists using the South Burnett Rail Trail.
“Opening up a cafe and a deck will give the gallery a second entrance from Coronation Park, and it will add something new to Wondai as well,” Elaine said.
She said the gallery would be taking special care to ensure any new gallery cafe didn’t compete with existing businesses.
Instead, the gallery would focus on bringing something new to the town to add to what Wondai already has.
One of these things might be South Burnett wines and cheese platters.
The Gallery is already a cellar door for four South Burnett wineries, and no other licensed venue in the town retails regional wines.
Mrs Madill said she believes the rear deck would cost an extra $30,000 to build. The gallery will seek support from the Gambling Community Benefit Fund to cover this cost once the new kitchen and storage area are built.