REG Kidd, Russell Turner and Scott Munro were three of the first people to roll down the sloped, grass-covered roof of the Orange Regional Museum yesterday, but they won’t be the last.
Just in time for the Orange FOOD Week night market and the opening of the Call + Response exhibition at the Orange Regional Gallery, the fencing protecting the Orange Regional Museum was removed yesterday.
The sloping grass roof is open to anyone who wants to roll down the luscious grass, or indeed anyone who wants to use it for its intended purpose, which is to provide a scenic, comfortable place to rest, sit or meet with friends.
Orange councillors Kidd, Turner, Munro and mayor John Davis were atop the building yesterday to mark the completion of its external construction, a significant milestone, Cr Davis said.
“It’s an exciting day in regard to the museum stage or project ... the grass is certainly a talking point in Orange,” Cr Davis said.
Anyone who has been curious about the strange structure being completed in Byng Street, opposite Robertson Park, is encouraged to walk along the stairs, take the lift or strut up the grass and have a look at Orange from a different perspective.
The interior of the museum is still being fitted out and will be open in the coming weeks with an official opening planned for June.
Cr Davis said the project was on time and on budget.
In his 30 year career he had never seen a project receive such positive feedback, he said.
“In 30 years of local government where this was put in the local media, we asked the TV and the paper, and we haven’t had a negative comment in regards to it,” he said. “It’s amazing.”
The $8.1 million project has been funded by Orange City Council’s contribution of $3.1 million, and $4 million from the federal government, while $1 million was to be provided by community fundraising, an amount which is underwritten by the council.
Inside the building will be a permanent exhibition of items from the Orange Historical Society such as the first television camera used in the area, Aboriginal artefacts and items used in the first gold rush.
Council will lobby to attract exhibitions from around the country, some of which will have an entry fee.
The visitor information centre and cafe in the precinct is expected to be opened in about two months.