WHILE removalists were rearranging furniture in the old Mulwaree Shire Council's chambers on Wednesday to make way for the Greater Argyle Council's finance department, symbols of the shire's presence still hung around the wall.
They were photos of the former Mulwaree councils, from the first elected in 1906 to the last in 1996, a wooden roll listing the presidents and mayors and the shire's crest fixed to the front of the mayor's desk.
Downstairs, the 'dungeon' holds minute books back to 1906 and recorded interviews with residents carried out for a history project.
Throughout the building there are maps, books about the shire's small villages, photos, maps and the Mayoral chain with each leader's name engraved on small gold plates, six of them incomplete. Then there is the president's book signed by each leader, starting with J Roberts in 1907 and ending with Paul Stephenson's sign-out comment, "terminated by government proclamation February 11 2004". General manager Robert Mowle simply wrote "Goodbye Mulwaree." The shire's recent dissolution has prompted community liaison officer, Gerry Witenden and Taralga district resident, Wendy Husband, to find a means of preserving the memorabilia in a central location.
They are hopeful of seeking grant funding for compilation of a written history and items such as surveyors' tools and other equipment. Funds would also be sought to construct a dedicated annex to house the items. Mr Witenden said while Goulburn City Council's name had also changed, its history was ongoing.
"Consultants undertaking a heritage study of Mulwaree Shire found that it is one of the most significant Local Government Areas in NSW.
It is defined by rivers and entities and is historically significant. The fact that it has now been cut up and is gone begs some record of its 98 years," he said. As a staff member who has had a hands-on role with heritage, Mr Witenden would like to have input into the future location and perhaps its compilation into a written form.
"Ninety-eight years is a lot of history and the shire has been involved in significant developments such as the Woodlawn Bioreactor and water and sewerage to Marulan. In the last two-three years it really hit its straps," Mr Witenden said.
Author of the Mulwaree Shire heritage study, Jennifer Lambert Tracey, suggested a public display of photos and other items, rather than being put in storage.
"Certainly the concept of Mulwaree Shire needs to be protected as an historical entity. One of the reasons is that Goulburn was Australia's first inland city and Mulwaree can't be dissociated with that," she said.
Greater Argyle Council's acting general manager, Don Cooper, said while it was too early to talk about the future of these items, he anticipated that the new council would publicly recognise the Shire's contribution in some manner.