colonial building

Signs of the times at Willow Court

STATE Government funding has been allocated to two projects at the Willow Court heritage site, with $37,000 awarded to the Derwent Valley Council and $100,000 to a private developer. Arts minister Madeleine Ogilvie yesterday said the government would distribute more than $800,000 to 12 sites across the state to help reinvigorate heritage places.

Ms Ogilvie said the two allocations for Willow Court would fund improved interpretation signage throughout the site, as well as conservation works to repurpose the Nurses Quarters as boutique accommodation and a function centre.

  • Project name: Recognising the Contribution of Nurses
  • Amount allocated: $100,000 to Nurses Home Pty Ltd
  • Description: “What was once bleak, cold quarters for nurses on the Royal Derwent Hospital site will be repurposed to provide boutique accommodation as part of a large, ongoing restoration project. A Tasmanian Government built heritage grant of $100,000 will support the property owners to continue their significant investment on restoration and reactivation of the building. The funding will support the second phase of restoration – the big hall, which once served as a training space, will be converted into a function room, while the creation of a commercial kitchen and restoration of the upstairs bedrooms will enable future activation of the site as a community and visitor destination.”
  • Project name: Improving the Visitor Journey at historic Willow Court
  • Amount allocated: $37,027 to the Derwent Valley Council
  • Description: “Interpretation signage across the historic Willow Court precinct will be strengthened providing visitors with a more holistic story of Australia’s oldest continually run asylum. The grant enables the Derwent Valley Council to implement best-practice interpretation signage across the entire site with a strong focus on honouring the experience of people who lived and worked at the controversial facility. In part, the new signage will include a commemorative and memorial function – telling the story of how the site is now a place of healing, recognition and reconciliation while also acknowledging the past trauma of so many. Site signage is an important part of the overall visitor experience and this grant ensures the Willow Court site will provide balanced interpretive content and wayfinding information for visitors to understand the site’s dark history as well as its bright future.”

Editor’s note: The descriptions for the two funded projects are presented in the way they are described on the Heritage Tasmania website. The pejorative language used is not the opinion of New Norfolk and Derwent Valley News.

Clarification: The “nurses home” referred to above is the L-shaped building on The Avenue in the Willow Court precinct and not the later multi-storey building in Lower Rd.

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