After extensive restoration works, the historic Cooroy Lower Mill Boilerhouse and kilns will officially open to the public on Sunday 23 May at 11.30am as a heritage interpretive centre and woodworking component of the precinct.
The general public is invited to attend the official opening and enjoy the entertainment, woodworking demonstrations, self-guided tours and a light lunch.
The heritage listed area includes the restoration of the buildings, relocation of the Cooroora Woodworker's clubhouse and an interactive self guided tour. The area has also been landscaped and includes a public artwork involving a series of ceramic mosaics set into a background of aged railway timbers.
During the restoration works, a ghostly entity was aroused and is now in permanent residence. A former mill worker and rock and roll enthusiast, Roy from Cooroy is a very sociable chap and delights in appearing to the crowds to sing and tell them all about the process of drying timber. Roy is guaranteed to materialise to every visitor and his performance is complemented by a series of information panels and a soundscape demonstrating how the mill sounded when it was in operation.
Chairperson of the Cooroy Lower Mill Board, Carol Christensen, said it was a great achievement for the Sunshine Coast Council and the Board.
"We are so pleased to be able to see this important iconic landmark being used as an attraction that enhances the town and highlights our rich pioneering heritage," she said. "And we've managed to attract our very own ghost which shows people are dying to visit."
Councillor Lew Brennan, who has been an advocate for the project since the closure of the mill in 2000, said the end result was great for locals and tourism.
"The Cooroy Lower Mill Site boilerhouse and kilns are heritage listed and this project raises awareness of the history of the hinterland town of Corooy which was founded on the timber industry," he said.
"As the first stop on the Cooroy Heritage Walk, it also provides a tourism experience like no other. This project has taken abandoned, derelict buildings and turned them into a real asset for the town. It is a credit to everyone who has been involved."
The renovation of the site was funded by Sunshine Coast Council, AusIndustry contributed $100,000 through the Australian Tourism Development Program, local company Ri-con Contractors Pty Ltd committed over $40,000 in in-kind support and the Coorooora Woodworkers contributed their time and efforts to fitting out the kilns.
The funding enabled the refurbishment of the kilns to be used for woodworking activities by the Cooroora Woodworkers and the refurbishment of the sawmill boilerhouse as an heritage interpretation centre including interpretive panels, Pepper's Ghost (an old theatrical trick which has been adapted to make a video appear as a ghost), soundscape, artifacts, public artwork and landscaping.
For more information on the Cooroy Lower Mill Site visit www.lowermillsite.com.au.
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