Heritage buildings can have modern uses


IT’S possible for old places to have modern uses.

That’s the message local historians are sending to those who own heritage buildings in the shire.

Alstonville Plateau Historical Society’s Jane Gardiner and Ballina Shire Council’s cultural heritage officer Kate Gahan are leading the charge.

“If you’ve got a heritage place, it doesn’t mean you can’t use it,” Mrs Gardiner said.

“It’s not a millstone around your neck.

“But you need to work in sympathy with what you’ve got.”

The society has done just that in the design of its research rooms at the rear of 100-year-old Crawford House.

Mrs Gardiner said the society could have “put up a tin shed”, but they were careful of making the new building fit in with the look of the old.

There are other examples around the shire where historic buildings have been modernised, but kept the heritage values of the past.

They include the Brundah home in Ballina, Ballina Manor and the Northern Rivers Community Gallery.

Mrs Gardiner said heritage buildings tell the story of the past, and retaining them had an “intangible benefit to the whole community because these places look terrific”.

Ms Gahan said Alstonville, particularly, could benefit from retaining heritage values in buildings now that the bypass has opened and the village looks to create an identity.

She said heritage buildings give towns charm and character.

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