Historical society seeks council aid

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The Old Police Station Museum.
Camera IconThe Old Police Station Museum. Credit: Supplied

The Plantagenet Historical Society has requested the Shire of Plantagenet allocate funds towards the construction of an archive repository.

Planned to be built at the Old Police Station Museum, the repository has been proposed after irreplaceable documents were lost in a fire at the Busselton Historical Society in March last year.

The additional building is estimated to cost $125,000.

Shire chief executive Rob Stewart said at the last council meeting in February, the society had asked the council to promise money in this financial year to show commitment to the project.

“This isn’t necessarily our normal practice and we don’t often transfer money between reserves and municipal funds during a finical year,” he said.

“That is all done at budget time.

“The councillors already said that we supported the project, which is a big project for a Shire like ours, but we needed to have a business plan in place.”

He said the council would need proper costings and go through the processes before committing. “We are working with the society and working out what information we have and putting together a plan. The proposal from there is to present the plan to the council as part of the budget process because in the new financial year, we will have proper costings.”

The Plantagenet Historical Society is asking the Shire to fund $50,000 of the total cost. The remaining funds required will be sourced through funding programs and business sponsorships.

The application will go back to the council as part of the normal budget process before the end of May. The repository is required to have an appropriate fire rating and allow for access by visitors, and ongoing records work to be undertaken. Mr Stewart said the Shire of Plantagenet, Kojonup, Broomhill and Cranbrook created a joint archive repository in Broomehill over a decade ago, which was currently safely fire rated.

“There is no room in this one anymore and it is not very accessible for people to access when they are doing their family history,” he said. “I expect that other Shires might start looking at creating repositories too, as there will be historical societies everywhere worried about it happening to them.”

The archives contain family history, letters and documents that have been donated to the society.

The Plantagenet Historical Society maintains the Old Police Station Museum complex.

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