The removal of thirty layers of lead-based paint, fixtures and fittings are testimony to the former life of the Old Public School and Head Masters Residence as teaching facilities.
The restoration and renovation process has revealed high vaulted ceilings that will provide a magnificent space in which to realise the dream of Professor Warren Somerville – a secure, and permanent home for the collection of dinosaurs, fossils and minerals that has been his lifelong passion.
However, the dream comes at a cost, and the establishment phase of the proposed world-class tourist and educational centre will need more than $2.2 million in addition to the gift of the heritage buildings by the Premier of NSW, Bob Carr.
Already, more than $1.5 million has been pledged, with support from the NSW Government, grants from the Commonwealth Regional Assistance Program and NSW Ministry for the Arts, and monetary support from stakeholders including Charles Sturt University, Bathurst City Council, the Reid Family Trusts and Newcrest Mining.
A major step in the development of the Somerville Collection takes place this week, as meetings are held with Thylacine, the company commissioned to design the museum space.
Head of the CSU’s Bathurst Campus and Chair of the Somerville Management Committee, Dr Peter Hodgson said the museum will be an educational resource and tourist attraction for Bathurst.
“We are fortunate that Professor Somerville has chosen Bathurst to house this priceless collection. We now hope the Bathurst community will embrace this vision, to make this dream happen.
“Our immediate challenge is to create an appropriate exhibition for the many thousands of specimens.”