If the iconic EC Manfred memorial tower is the staunch and celebrated shadow of our past soldiers, the preliminary Rocky Hill War Memorial Museum design signals a step into the new age of progressive commemoration.
Concept plans, in response to an expression of interest earlier this year, were unveiled by Sydney based Crone Architects on Tuesday, illustrating a modern 200 square metre building connected to the existing museum.
Rocky Hill museum officer Claire Baddeley said it was important the museum, to be built with stainless steel and textured concrete, did not dominate the site.
“[The design] best met the criteria in terms of significance of the site and the commemoration of the memorial and also the natural beauty,” she said.
“That’s always the trick when you are proposing a new building on an old site, to have something that blends in. Yes it’s contemporary because contemporary architects work with those designs.”
She acknowledged the innovative design differed to the 1935 caretaker cottage and the 1925 memorial but said the exterior design, with the reflective panels, was a symbolic sign of the reflective nature of the site.
“You will have a link between the new building and the old building,” she said.
A number of local architects and community members were consulted prior to the plan’s conception.
These very modern design elements excited Goulburn Mulwaree Mayor Bob Kirk who said the concept plans did a fantastic job in fitting in with the unique landscape of Rocky Hill.
“The concept for expansion would allow us to accommodate further touring groups, as well as attract touring exhibitions, in turn further lifting visitation,” he said.
Only five per cent of Rocky Hill’s 6000 piece collection can be on display at one time, a number Ms Baddeley hopes to increase in the new space.
The new building will be double the existing display and exhibition space.
Ms Baddeley said the new flexible space could also accommodate travelling exhibitions, seminars, functions and school visits.
According to a surveyor’s report presented last year to the Goulburn Mulwaree Council, the extension is expected to cost about $1.7 million.
The council has applied for the federal Building Better Regions grant and plans to contribute $700,000 to this project.
There will also be an extension of the current car park to allow large coaches to turn.
Ms Baddeley said the designs were expected to be finalised shortly, followed by the submission of a development application.
About 25,000 people visit the museum every year.
Rocky Hill has received funding support over the past few years, which include the Saluting Their Service Commemorations valued at $4,000 in 2011.
This also includes the NSW Premier’s fund to tie in with the city’s 150th birthday celebrations.
There are up to 10 volunteers at the Rocky Hill War Memorial Museum.
A total of two designs were released by Crone Architects.
Interested community members have already taken to the Goulburn Mulwaree Council Facebook to ask questions and post encouraging comments.
Jamie Buck, who commented on the council’s announcement online, said his grandfather was part of the team that placed the two cannons into the original position.
“On the whole, a change up there would be good. So much good work has already happened,” he said.
The project is part of a wider redevelopment planned for Rocky Hill.
Ms Baddeley hopes the community will get behind the project as “it will put Goulburn on the map.”
The memorial is open from 10am to 4pm to the public.
- An earlier version of this story mistakenly said about 250,000 people visit the museum every year.