Ipswich City Council and the Ipswich Historical Society will work closely together to turn the Cooneana Heritage Centre at New Chum into a “living museum”.
Council and the society have agreed to enter into a Heads of Agreement partnership to investigate developing the Cooneana property on Redbank Plains Road, which dates back to the mid-1800s.
Works, Parks and Recreation Chief Operating Officer Bryce Hines said the IHS committee shared council’s long-held vision to see Cooneana Heritage Centre be more accessible from a tourism perspective.
“Council has recently undertaken a series of site reports for Cooneana to assess the feasibility and viability of Cooneana Heritage Centre being developed into a ‘living museum’. Council engaged a specialist consultant to review the conservation values of the site and assess the tourism potential for Ipswich as a historical recreational destination,” he said.
“Council and IHS have agreed to establish a formal strategic plan that will provide some long term support for IHS and the community groups to fulfil the vision of a historical and cultural community centre. A master plan was identified as a key project document required to address the complex historical, cultural and economic constraints and opportunities.”
Mr Hines said the HOA combined with the master plan will assist in the delivery of priority projects and operations to offer a tourism heritage experience for Ipswich.
The document will capture a collective vision supported by a formal strategic plan to develop the site over time.
“In the interests of both parties and the Ipswich community, master / business planning for the development of Cooneana Heritage Centre should be undertaken through a partnership agreement document.”
The society, which had occupied the Cooneana property since 2002, had continued tenancy on a month-by-month basis since its lease expired in 2011.
There would now by a formal lease agreement put in place to extend the partnership.
Conservation and restoration work has been ongoing on the 150-year-old Cooneana Homestead. Initial work involved stabilising the structure to halt any further deterioration, with the house restumped.