Replacing a treasure

By Seymour Telegraph

The historic Tallarook Mechanics Institute will be demolished and rebuilt after irreparable damage was caused by a devastating fire last week.

The hall, built in 1891, was gutted by a fire late on May 5. Independent structural engineer inspections undertaken this week revealed the damage was too great for the hall to be retained, including the façade which the CFA worked so hard to save.

The council-owned building was insured and will be rebuilt, with the roof removed on Friday and further demolition works expected to begin next week and be completed within the next fortnight.

Council will salvage parts of the façade and as many other key features of the building as possible so they can potentially be used to help with the rebuild, as well as protecting the garden sculptures during the demolition works.

Council is working with the volunteer Committee of Management and the wider Tallarook community to determine the next steps to rebuild.

Mitchell Shire Mayor Rhonda Sanderson praised the Tallarook community for banding together during such a difficult time.

‘‘The Tallarook Mechanics Institute was such an important part of this town and it’s clear from the outpouring of emotion and support over the past few days just how much it meant to our community,’’ Cr Sanderson said.

‘‘While we will never be able to replace the historic value of the building, the memories created there over the past 127 years can never be taken away.

‘‘We will now start the process of working with our community to rebuild and restore this vital community hub.

‘‘We would like to thank everyone for their help during this difficult time, including our emergency services who battled so hard to save the building, as well as all those people from outside our community who have offered their support.’’

Over the years the Tallarook Mechanics Institute has been used for dances, fundraisers, meetings and a host of community events. More recently, the building was home to the Tallarook Farmers’ Market and a range of classes and community activities.

Cr Sanderson said Council and the Committee of Management are working with these groups to facilitate alternative arrangements while the hall is being demolished and rebuilt.

A community meeting to discuss the next steps was held yesterday.