The ‘new’ view from Old Dubbo Gaol gives a glimpse back in time

A significant milestone has been reached in the NSW Government and Dubbo Regional Council funded multi-million dollar ‘Destination Dubbo – International Ready’ project, which includes the Old Dubbo Gaol Heritage Plaza development. Demolition of a building adjacent to the gaol signals major progress for the project.

With the former building at 92 Macquarie Street all but demolished, the skyline immediately in front of the gaol has returned to what prisoners would have seen prior to the site being developed, giving a glimpse back in time to the gaol’s history.

“This is a major milestone for the project,” said Dugald Saunders MP, Member for the Dubbo Electorate. “It is both very visible for those passing by, and for those getting ready to commence work on the next phase of this very exciting and community significant project for the city’s CBD.”

“The ‘Destination Dubbo – International Ready’ project, which includes the Old Dubbo Gaol Heritage Plaza development, will deliver some amazing cultural, destination and financial benefits for the CBD and Dubbo region overall,” said Mr Saunders. “There’s a real vibe and level of excitement of what’s to come as Dubbo continues to grow and develop, positioning itself to become the number one inland visitor destination in NSW and Australia, both for Australian families and international visitors to NSW.”  

A development application (DA) for the community endorsed Old Dubbo Gaol Heritage Plaza is being prepared for submission, which includes street furniture, landscaping and cultural interpretations.

“All of this critical work is setting the scene and forum for the largest First Nations kinetic public art project in regional NSW,” said Dubbo Regional Council Mayor, Mathew Dickerson. “The kinetic artwork will be a significant element of the Old Dubbo Gaol Heritage Plaza development. The winning design, ‘Dadarri’, has been created and further developed by Dr Bianca Beetson, a proud Kubbi Kubbi, Wiradjuri artist.”

“We are extremely grateful to the NSW Government for their funding support of ‘Destination Dubbo – International Ready’. It is pleasing to see that this first stage of the project was delivered ahead of schedule and the overall development will deliver a significant cultural, social and tourism boost for the CBD and region,” said Councillor Dickerson. 

The demolition of the site has taken less time than planned with the initial project plan allowing 12 weeks to remove the former two-storey office building. Contractor, AGH Demolition and Asbestos Removal – 6 weeks in to the work plan – has levelled the site to a concrete slab. 

The first stage of demolition required the removal of internal assets and structures, including stripping out internal finishes, the building’s plant room, the removal of the lift and former bank safe. This work also included removing all the mechanical equipment, and the lift shaft was also demolished last week. While perimeter safety fencing will remain in place, people will see a large open construction space when surrounding scaffolding is completely removed once landscaping work gets under way.

Council and its contractor put a range of measures in place to ensure the protection of heritage structures and surrounding businesses during the demolition process.  Where possible, and where safe to do so, every effort was taken to recycle materials, such as providing the Dubbo Men’s Shed with hardwood timbers from the site for use in their community projects.  

Funding for ‘Destination Dubbo – International Ready’ has been secured through Restart NSW ($10,147,000) with a co-contribution from Dubbo Regional Council ($2,536,760) along with the NSW Stronger Communities Fund ($900,000). The Old Dubbo Gaol Heritage Plaza is set to be completed in December 2022.

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