Heritage Hub Open During the Heritage and Bullocks Festival

 

A main street shop derelict for more than 30 years has opened as a ‘Heritage Hub’, and you can experience all it has to offer during the Oatlands Heritage and Bullock Festival.

“The Hub is in its founding stage,” says Southern Midlands Council Community Development Officer, Michelle Webster. “Artisans work from the hub and volunteer their time to service customers. Any sales return 70% to the artisan, with the remaining 30% offsetting the operational costs.

“The Southern Midlands Council (who own the building) see it as an important contribution to the community. The building has been restored using traditional materials and skills. We wanted to honour those skills, and we feel we’ve achieved this by allowing artisans using traditional skills, even if through modern interpretation, to take over the space and create something new and fabulous. Across the weekend of the Heritage and Bullocks Festival we’ll have a number of leather and textile artists in the shop.”

The building itself dates back to the 1860s and began life as a residential cottage. In 1870s the shop frontage with its beautiful windows was added.

Historian Alan Townsend says that there are members in the community who remember the various phases of the shop. “We’ve had people with memories of buying sweets and others remembering it as a butcher. Some have memories of lining up at a side window in the wall to buy bread baked in the oven, which is still in the Commissariat building located behind the shop.”

Both Michelle and Alan agree that the community are very supportive of the building having a new use and appreciate that its authenticity has been retained.

“Its early days for the Hub, but the comments we’ve had from visitors and locals is that we are on to something. We’re hoping that the upcoming Festival will increase the profile of the Hub,” says Michelle.

This is the second year of the Heritage and Bullock Festival. This “small and authentic” Festival grew out of Oatlands’ annual Heritage Festival. “Last year we had six weeks to revamp the Festival. We opened up heritage buildings and had artisans, woodworkers, coopers, stonemasons and other tradespeople sharing their skills, their knowledge and their work. Over the weekend we had around 5000 people joining in the fun,” Michelle says.

“This year there will be more artisans and tradespeople, more food vendors, traditional games for children, a sheep auction, wood chopping, fire pits to keep people warm and a free shuttle bus to help people get between key venues. The street parade, including the bullocks, will start off the festivities. For those who missed last year’s live theatre production of an historical event in Oatlands history, we have a new production that recounts a bushranger's final three days in gaol. We’re moving to a bigger venue though, because it was so popular last year.”

The Heritage and Bullocks Festival runs from 10-11 August 2019. You can find more information on the Festival Facebook page, or simply turn up and help support one of Tasmania’s many great rural communities.

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