A recent grant from the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal has enabled the Broadford & District Historical Society to fulfil what had appeared to be an impossible dream.
For ten years the Society had been trying to work out a way to relocate the old Broadford Police lock-up cell to its museum complex. The cell is believed to be over 100 years old, and was located behind the old police station in Broadford. Its removal raised some difficult issues. “We knew the cell consisted of a heavy iron ‘cage’ encased in heavy timber, but no one could tell us just how heavy it was,” Society President John Brissett reported. “Estimates of up to 12 tons were suggested, and this raised questions of who in the area had the heavy-lifting equipment to move it.”
A grant of $500 was given to the Society some years ago by Seymour Rotary Club to assist with the move, but a lot more than this was needed to lift, move, relocate and repair the building. Community grants had been applied for but they excluded ‘moving costs’, and this appeared to be the major expense with the cell project, the cell having been given to the Society by Victoria Police. With limited funds and few apparent options available, the task was put ‘in the too-hard basket”, where it remained for a decade. Then the group heard of the C.A.T.C.H. (Culture Arts Tourism and Community Heritage Program) grants, run by a private charitable organisation that provided grants of up to $20,000 to not-for-profit community groups in rural and remote Australia. The grant application went in, and within a week of the notification of our success, the move happened.
A 30 ton mobile crane from Seymour Cranes lifted the lock-up cell onto the Mitchell Shire’s low loader which rolled down the main street, providing much interest to those lucky enough to see it. Traffic was briefly held up as the truck negotiated power lines and other obstacles. The crane then gently positioned the building on its prepared site behind the pioneer cottages in the Historical Society’s museum precinct. Painting and repair work will commence shortly and will be carried out in conjunction with the repairs taking place on the 119 year old Courier newspaper office. This was the subject of another successful grant application by the Society some months ago.
The Society would like to acknowledge the considerable community support it has received with the project, and particularly Mitchell Shire’s generous contribution of men and equipment to facilitate the move.
21 November 2010
Photos by Peter Wright and Howard Cooper