The Lithgow Small Arms Factory Museum will soon start restoration on its general machine shop to allow it to be reopened to public view.
Bathurst MP Paul Toole visited the museum site at Lithgow on Friday, August 10 to announce $100,000 for the project, one of 33 projects across NSW to share $2.67 million allocated to the Heritage Near Me Activation Grants.
Lithgow Small Arms Factory Museum secretary Kerry Guerin said the grant was very welcome.
“This grant is going to help us get the machine shop, the general machine shop, ready for public display.
“We’ll be using the money to fix the roof and to make the flooring a lot more even
Mr Geurin said the upgrades would be incredibly important to the museum.
“It’s going to put us in a new era. Instead of just being guns, we’re going to be able to show people the machining and factory side of it, which up until now has taken a second spot.”
The area was opened up for special tours as part of the LithGlow festival, which was the first time the area had been seen by the public since the 1970’s.
Mr Guerin said the LithGlow visitors “absolutely loved it”.
“They couldn’t get enough and we had to turn people away for the tours,” he said.
“I think it’s just the aura of machinery. People love machinery and they love old buildings. And when you put them both together, it’s just an incredible feeling.”
The building was constructed in 1923.
“As you can see, the lighting is spectacular,” Mr Guerin said.
“If they did it now you would say, ‘Oh yes, they understand the idea of having natural lighting, but you’re looking at 1923,” he said.
Mr Toole said he was pleased to be able to support the crucial role played by heritage owners and managers and congratulated members of the Lithgow Small Arms Factory Museum on their innovation in bringing local heritage to life.
“It’s growing tourism but it’s also telling the story about the history of Lithgow and this area,” he said.
“To have some of the machines here and see them for the first time – and the stories now that will go with them - and have the opportunity now to share them with others, is great.”
The funds will pay for major works including flooring, roofing, window and skylight repair or replacement, gutter repairs, lighting, demolition and retrofitting of offices and general cleaning.
“By encouraging the community to use and enjoy our heritage places we ensure they are valued and protected for future generations,” Mr Toole said.