Funding sought for Tramway Museum redevelopment

PLANS are on track for a $4 million Ballarat Tramway Museum (BTM) redevelopment.

Funding is currently being sought to turn the Lake Wendouree tourist attraction into an interpretive centre featuring interactive displays, exhibition space, function

and archive rooms, a cafe, toilets, car parking and a larger storage area.

Ballarat Tramway Museum vice-president Paul Mong said $3.5 million was needed for the museum’s overhaul and a further $500,000 for displays.

Applications have been put in for government funding, including from Regional Development Victoria.

“This is a really large project,” Mr Mong said.

“One of the issues we’re facing is that our collection has grown (but) we can’t fund a project like this ourselves.”

BTM currently has 15 trams and 6000 catalogued items, including videos, artefacts and photographs.

Mr Mong said it was hoped a further three historic trams could be added to the collection during the redevelopment.

He said the interactive displays, which would include a timeline of Ballarat’s trams starting with a fully restored 1887 horse-drawn tram, would also be designed to be educational.

A rotating exhibition space could also be used by other non-tram related groups.

Mr Mong said the project’s business case was due to be finished in June, with a planning permit expected to go before Ballarat City Council in the next few months.

“This has actually been in the pipeline since 2010. When it started, the idea was to put it in the Botanical Gardens Master Plan.

“It was originally a tin shed but we went away and got it architecturally designed.”

Mr Mong said BTM was working with Ballarat Regional Tourism and other tourist groups to develop the project.

“The centre will attract thousands of visitors to the highly popular gardens and boost Ballarat’s economy by creating jobs for the region. It will also benefit the community by allowing access to the facilities all year round.”

fiona.henderson@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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