Showing respect to Glass House Mountains’ oldest building
  • Tuesday 26 July 2011

Bankfoot House – the oldest surviving building in the Glass House Mountains district – is in safe hands with Sunshine Coast Council.

Council has endorsed a proposal to invest $1million over two years towards preserving the museum collection at Bankfoot House and improving the visitor experience.

Through the Cultural Heritage Levy, this financial year $100,000 will go towards the design and documentation phase of Stage 1 of the planned works for Bankfoot House. A proposal for a further $900,000 will fund the building phase (Stage 2) in 2012-13, with the amount to be determined during the course of Stage 1. A further $20,000 has been allocated for general building maintenance and preservation works this year.

Social Policy Portfolio Councillor Anna Grosskreutz, who is Chair of the Sunshine Coast Cultural Heritage Reference Group, said council recognises the significant role Bankfoot House has in the local community and is committed to preserving and enhancing the site and its many historical treasures.

"Dating back to the nineteenth century, over the years the house has served many purposes for the community including a staging post for Cobb and Co, the Post Office, store and butcher’s shop, accommodation for travellers, and a centre for district activities," she said.

"This is a house steeped in history, both by association and in its existing fabric. In Bankfoot House, we find links not only with stirring events like the Gympie gold rush and the development of communities, industries and transport in south-east Queensland, but also with the family and community lifestyles of each generation from 1868.

"I am pleased we are able to invest appropriate funding to protect and augment such an important community landmark."

Cr Grosskreutz said a long term partnership between council and a dedicated Friends of Bankfoot House had seen a great deal of work done to preserve the buildings and collections.

"For Bankfoot House to realise it full cultural tourism potential a significant capital works program is underway to improve access and storage of the collection and to better accommodate visitors," she said.

"The Friends are already busy hosting tours and events. The visitor experience will be enhanced through this development. With this work underway an education and public program can be prepared and interpretative materials designed and installed within the house and its surrounds."

Bankfoot House is suited to low volume visitation targeting independent travellers, while large groups such as school students and coach travelling tourists will be catered for.

The Cultural Heritage Reference Group is responsible for providing a reference point for council on issues facing the heritage sector and making recommendations on potential priorities for allocation of levy funds and how it will be spent across the Coast.

Council’s Heritage Levy Policy requires that funds be used specifically for facilities, programs, projects and activities concerned with the preservation and promotion of the region’s history and cultural heritage. Council’s Community Grants has a category that encourages applications for projects that enhance an understanding of, and interest in, the region’s heritage and social history.