Eureka Centre calls for applications for a community consultative committee

With a push for more Ballarat resident input and more council control, the building now known as the Eureka Centre is banking on yet another fresh start.

The city is looking for seven members for the Eureka Centre Community Consultative Committee, alongside up to three councillors, to steer the centre’s designated focus on the ‘Eureka’ story.

It follows the official closure Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka (MADE) in April, which looked to explore democracy more broadly. 

Ballarat Mayor Samantha McIntosh said the committee search focused on finding collaborative and diverse people from to provide a “degree of consistently” and “strong and fresh leadership”.

“We saw in the past there was a lot of leadership coming from far away that wasn’t connected with the grass roots of Ballarat,” she said.

“It’s imperative they have local knowledge, important to have the connections … they might be known individuals who have strong voices but may not have contributed to the centre previously.”

In February, former MADE CEO Rebecca McFarling told The Courier the Eureka issue was always going to be contentious.

“The Eureka project is always going to be challenging. It needs the buy-in of both the local community and those passionate about Eureka, but gaining consensus on any issue to do with Eureka is almost impossible,” she said. 

Cr McIntosh said the committee needed to have a presence from councillors to ensure a Ballarat focus, and “for it to be completely independent from the council, it makes that difficult”.

The search for a full-time Eureka Centre Manager began in June, with the successful candidate to be paid up to $108,252.

The role called for candidates with experience managing a cultural tourism attraction or community centre, with the future manager expected increase the utilisation and patronage at the facility. 

Cr McIntosh said interviews for a new manager will take place this week, with the announcement of a successful candidate in “a couple of weeks”.

The centre was allocated $600,000 in City of Ballarat’s 2018/2019 budget. The council spent around $1 million annually on the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka. 

Cr McIntosh said the centre’s patronage was a "little down compared to a similar time last year”, which she chalked up to an Chinese heritage exhibition at the time, but could not provide specific numbers to The Courier. 

"Once we’ve got the new curator and staffing confirmed, there will be a renewed focus,” she said. 

Expressions of interest for the committee close July 16.