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Australia's working heritage preserved in Barcaldine

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Australia's Working Heritage Preserved in Barcaldine Media Release WT029/2013 14 November 2013

Joint release with: Bruce Scott Member for Maranoa Vaughan Johnson

Queensland Member for Gregory

Australia's proud working heritage has been preserved through the refurbishment of two displays held in the Australian Workers Heritage Centre, Barcaldine.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, Warren Truss, said the Shearers’ Hall and the Kunwarara Railway Station were important displays about the nation's past.

“The Australian Workers Heritage Centre each year contributes to regional and national tourism, boosts local employment and helps to sustain rural life,” Mr Truss said.

“It is one of the major drawcards on the Matilda Tourist route, with about 25,000 visitors a year, and it is a strong link in the chain of some 33 Queensland Heritage Trail Network attractions.”

The Shearers’ Hall is Australia's oldest union hall and played a role in the great Shearers’ Strike of 1891. Kunwarara Railway Station, built in 1915, is about the crucial role that rail played in serving the communities at the time.

Mr Truss said the Australian Government contributed $750,000 to the refurbishment project, which included signs and labels, LED lighting, disability access and building refurbishment, as well as a new storage shed.

The Federal Member for Maranoa, Bruce Scott, said it was vital to ensure visitors to museums had access to Australia's past and that displays were well maintained.

“The Australian Workers Heritage Centre is the only national attraction dedicated to telling the stories of the railway workers, blacksmiths, farmers, nurses and teachers who shaped our nation,” Mr Scott said.

“The refurbishment of these two displays ensures an important part of our history and culture continues to educate and inform younger generations.”

The Queensland Member for Gregory, Vaughan Johnson, said refurbishment of the displays would ensure the centre continued to enhance the local economy.

“The Australian Workers Heritage Centre provides an economic boost to the region by fostering local employment and sustaining rural life,” Mr Johnson said.

“The centre will continue to attract additional visitors to outback Queensland's Central West, particularly school students and other groups.

“The project generated up to 30 local jobs at various stages of construction and created up to eight ongoing jobs on completion.”