Moree community receives historic former Crown Lands building to be used as a museum

HANDOVER: Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall takes the $1 payment from Moree Plains Shire Council Mayor Katrina Humphries and Moree and District Historical Society president Stephen Ritchie at the former Crown Lands building.
HANDOVER: Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall takes the $1 payment from Moree Plains Shire Council Mayor Katrina Humphries and Moree and District Historical Society president Stephen Ritchie at the former Crown Lands building.

Moree and District Historical Society will finally have a permanent home to store and showcase all of Moree’s valuable historical items when Moree Plains Shire Council takes ownership of the iconic former Crown Lands building.

For the price of just $1, Moree Plains Shire Council will take ownership of the almost 130-year-old Frome Street building from the NSW government to ensure the historical treasure remains in the hands of the community, rather than being put up for auction and possible redevelopment.

Council plans to hand over the keys of the building to Moree and District Historical Society to use to establish a Moree Museum.

The historical society will act as caretakers of the building, taking on all costs associated with establishing and running the museum, as well as applying for grant funding.

“I hope the community is incredibly pleased to know that such a beautiful building is going to be in safe hands,” Moree mayor Katrina Humphries said.

The building, which was originally constructed in 1892, had been vacant for almost two years, since the local Crown Lands staff moved into the state government office building, about 200 metres away.

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“Usually, when properties like this are vacated and no government agencies have any use for them, they are put up for auction,” Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall said.

“Moree Plains Shire Council, Moree Historical Society and the community and I were all determined to see the building kept in public hands and give it a new life as a permanent home for the historical society and potentially a local history museum.

“What better place to have the Moree Museum than one of the oldest buildings in Moree.”

The historic building, which was constructed in 1982, will soon be home to the Moree Museum.

The historic building, which was constructed in 1982, will soon be home to the Moree Museum.

Mr Marshall approached the Treasurer and Finance Minister on behalf of the Moree community to have the property transferred to council under the government’s community use policy.

“I was delighted that the Treasurer and Finance Minister agreed to my request and the $1 price tag for council to take ownership of the historic property,” he said.

“Council will shortly take ownership of the Lands building and is required to ensure is is only used for community or recreational purposes.”

Moree and District Historical Society has had their eyes on the historical building ever since Crown Lands indicated they’d be moving out about three years ago.

“It’s a landmark of Moree; it suits our ideals and has got available space,” Moree and District Historical Society president Stephen Ritchie said.

For more than 50 years, since the historical society was established in 1962, there has never been a museum or place to store historical artefacts in Moree. There are currently two containers full of historical items at council’s depot, while other items are stored in the homes of society members.

Mr Ritchie said the historical society is thrilled to be able to finally have somewhere to display Moree’s history.

“I’m delighted, very pleased it’s happened,” he said.

“It’s been a lot of hard work.”

The historical society has plans to set up the museum on the second level of the two-storey building, while a research and storage area will be downstairs. Mr Ritchie said there’s also the potential to have a cafe on the balcony overlooking the river.