MITCHELL Shire councillors hope ‘overdue’ works on Kilmore’s historic Whitburgh Cottage can begin next year after applying for a heritage grant to restore the building.
The council approved an application for $200,000 to restore the cottage under Heritage Victoria’s Living Heritage Program at last month’s general meeting.
Originally the council was unable to apply for a grant under the program, which was restricted to at-risk heritage in bushfire-affected areas, but the program was expanded to include other areas.
The council allocated money in its 2020-21 budget for planning and heritage-permit processes and consultation in hopes its application would be successful.
The cottage is Kilmore’s oldest surviving bluestone house, and was built in the 1850s.
Formerly operated as a historical museum, the building was described as being in poor condition by heritage consultants earlier this year.
Cr Bob Humm said the building was an important part of the shire’s history and should be preserved.
“There was talk of moving it at one stage, but Heritage Victoria under no circumstances wanted it moved off that site,” he said.
“It was up to the officers to find a substantial amount of money to do the works on this little cottage so that it can stand where it has been for more than 100 years now.”
Cr David Atkinson said restoring the cottage and reopening it as a museum could have tourism benefits for the region.
Cr Fiona Stevens said the cottage was among several historically-significant structures in the region – including Seymour’s Old Goulburn River Bridge, Pyalong Trestle Bridge, Reedy Creek Homestead and Ned Kelly’s childhood home in Beveridge – that were worthy of preservation.
“Our shire has a number of historically significant sites and buildings that we desperately need to get money for to preserve and protect,” she said.
“Often we don’t get the opportunity to get grants in these areas and this is really significant.
“I hope this is one of many that will come our way and hopefully we’ll be successful in, because our history needs to be protected and preserved.”