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Historic occasion as museum changes hands

Rochester Historical and Pioneer Society has signed the legal papers to take ownership of its operating premises.

ELAINE COONEY May 6, 2014 3:10am

 

Rochester Historical and Pioneer Society signed the legal papers to become the new owner of the museum building and two outbuildings on Friday.

The buildings had been held in trust by Campaspe Shire and now the society is an incorporated body, it took over the ownership.

The move was spawned from Campaspe Shire’s Asset Renewal Funding Strategy which aims to remove council assets in order to save money and lower rates.

The changeover came at a $2000 cost to the society for legal fees.

Campaspe Shire councillor Leigh Wilson said the Rochester ward fund would pay the bill.

President Lorraine Haines said she believed the society achieved the best deal it could with council.

Campaspe Shire agreed to give the society an annual grant of $2200 to help with their estimated costs of $3400 which will be reviewed in three years.

Secretary John Foster said the society hoped to become self-sustaining and was arranging bus tours to visit which would pay $8 a person for afternoon tea.

Campaspe Shire’s service review manager Keith Oberin said the society was up to the challenge of managing itself and could learn from the historical societies in Echuca and Kyabram.

He said now the buildings were signed over, the society would no longer need to put requests through to Campaspe Shire before applying for grants or carrying out works.

Mrs Haines said the society needed to carry out $75,983 of restoration work.

She said the Rochester Planning Group allocated $15,000 in seeding funding to obtain a grant from Regional Development Victoria.

Mrs Haines said RDV representatives had visited twice and were supportive.

The society is calling on the community to help it reach its self-sustainability goal.

‘‘We are only the caretakers of the history of Rochester and we need full support,’’ Mr Foster said.

He said the buildings belonged to the Rochester community and residents were welcome to join.

‘‘You don’t need to be a member. You can be a friend,’’ he said.

He said friends paid an annual $10 fee and received free access to the museum and a newsletter.

Vice-president Doug Watson said many Rochester residents were willing to help out.

He said a working bee was held every Wednesday and Friday morning at the museum and everyone was welcome.

Even though the papers were signed on Friday, the official changing of hands will be in two months time.

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