Frank Kopke at the Gympie Gold Mining Museum, which forms the heart of a push by Gympie regional council to capitalise on the tourism industry.
Frank Kopke at the Gympie Gold Mining Museum, which forms the heart of a push by Gympie regional council to capitalise on the tourism industry. Troy Jegers

Council lays out plan for future of iconic heritage site

GYMPIE'S heritage is rich, and it could soon include a re-opened Monkland railway station and professional curation of its mining museum

These are but two of the ideas put forth by Gympie Regional Council this week as it works to establish a strategy for the future of the Monkland mining precinct.

The area - which includes the Gympie Gold Mining and Historical Museum, the No. 1 Scottish Mine and Battery site (commonly known as the Retort House), and the Monkland Railway Station on the Mary Valley Rattler line - is the central focus of a plan aimed at capitalising on the region's gold rush heritage.

Gympie Gold Mining Museum prepare for celebrating 45 years since the official opening with a morning tea (Saturday, June 6) from 9.00am and will be open till 4.00pm. The museum will also be open on Monday, Queens Birthday Holiday. Look and see what's in the doctor's bag.   Photo Greg Miller / Gympie Times
Gympie Gold Mining Museum prepare for celebrating 45 years since the official opening with a morning tea (Saturday, June 6) from 9.00am and will be open till 4.00pm. The museum will also be open on Monday, Queens Birthday Holiday. Look and see what's in the doctor's bag. Photo Greg Miller / Gympie Times Greg Miller

For the museum, which has grown and survived thanks to the efforts of volunteers, the draft suggests designating a council officer to oversea its implementation.

It also suggests a review of its management, operations and policies with an eye on professional curation and growing volunteer support.

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This would include "storing or disposing of items” to refine the collection into a "cohesive and immersive story”.

Virtual reality experiences and redevelopment of the museum into an "authentic heritage township” are also on the cards, albeit much further in the future.

Fascinting Finds. 750 cc Harley Davidson
Fascinting Finds. 750 cc Harley Davidson "Solo” was used by the Australian Army from 1941 to 1960 and restored and donated to the Gympie Gold Mining and Historical Museum by Gympie's Ron Stark. Photo Contributed Contributed

At the Retort House Scottish Mine Reserve the draft strategy hinges on the master plan developed in 2013 as the heart of future development.

Several items from this plan have been removed, having already been built across the road at Lake Alford instead.

Any work at the mine would need heritage approval first.

With the station re-opened, residents will be able to ride the Rattler there as part of the wider tourism experience.

A Gympie Gold Mining/Monkland Heritage trail linking the precinct's pieces and allowing for them to be experienced without (but encouraging) entry is also proposed.

The draft is open for public feedback until Thursday, August 22, on the council's website.