The Winton Waltzing Matilda Centre undertook a redesign and development process following the impact of devastating fires in June 2015. This development includes a new building, exhibition and interpretive story overlay. While the centre will be based, in part, on the stories of the original centre it also provides an opportunity to utilise contemporary cutting edge exhibition display techniques and technologies to develop the interpretive centre as a world class engaging, immersive and entertaining visitor experience.
Thylacine worked with Local Government Infrastructure Services, the Town Council and Mayor of Winton over a 10 month period to develop a masterplan for the new centre that opened in April 2018.
The redeveloped Waltzing Matilda Centre explored the song and story of Australia’s favourite bush ballad, the country it came from, and the many stories of Winton and its surrounds.
The masterplan included; a current state analysis, tourism and market analysis undertaken with TRC Tourism; the development of a core proposition for the interpretive approach for the centre undertaken with Sanmor and Associates; and a comparative assessment of the existing market, comparative appeal of museum concept/themes across identified visitor profiles. We also provided a curatorial assessment of the existing collection, loan opportunities for new materials and research into Aboriginal content and existing collection items with our subcontractor curator, Isa Menzies. In collaboration with Isa we developed a structure for the curatorial stories for the centre.
We also reported on the architectural and building requirements for the new building including functional spatial use diagrams, and commercial considerations including centre management, admission costs, retail and food /beverage opportunities. Interpretive concept design and detailing of a suite of interactive media installations for the centre, project budget for each area of the centre, costing for consultants’ fees, and recent projects cost comparison and a project delivery plan.
The key challenge of this project was to develop a plan that took its ethos from the previous centre and expanded this into an outward looking visitor experience that would appeal to a varied demographic. We dealt with this challenge through a broad consultation process with the local community and stakeholders.
The newly established centre seeks to attract a varied demographic consisting of travelling seniors ‘grey nomads’, families drawn to the area by the dinosaur trail, international tourists and backpackers seeking an Australian Outback experience. Locals to the area may make an initial visit to experience the reconstructed centre and exhibitions and then will make repeat visits to attend the gift shop/café or for special events and school holidays programs. They will return with interstate visitors to the centre as an introduction to the area and its unique history. With the reconstruction and refurbishment of the centre and redeveloped branding and marketing strategy it is expected that visitor numbers will increase significantly from the current 22,000 visitors per annum.
The new facility will be critical to the survival of Winton; it must attract tourists to the town and generate income. It was this view that under-pinned the work of the master planning study. It forced a broader study to be taken of the tourism potential of Winton and its surrounding district and the role of the new centre in providing the stimulus for not only visiting Winton itself, but to stay longer to explore the broader offerings of the district.
The Waltzing Matilda Centre is one of the most important tourist drivers for the town of Winton and its redevelopment is essential to the towns continuing prosperity and survival. We are proud of our work undertaken towards envisioning a best practice interpretive centre for this community.
Client Local Government Infrastructure Services and the Winton Town Council. Project partners San Mor, TRC and Mental Media.