THE city’s most iconic landmark, the Carillon, will undergo a $500,000 restoration with help from a $300,000 funding grant announced by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Wednesday.
The premier, in Bathurst as part of a visit to the Central West, said she would “have loved to take credit” for the funding, but said it “came about because of the city’s local member, Paul Toole”.
The iconic structure has stood in the centre of Bathurst since 1933, and was built to honour the men and women of the region who served and died during World War I.
Over the years it has become a memorial for locals who lost their lives in subsequent wars and peacekeeping operations around the world.
For decades, the Bathurst community has been trying to raise funds to complete the memorial itself and install a clavier, which is a type of keyboard.
To achieve this, the Carillon fundraising committee has to date raised $190,000 - an admirable effort, but well short of the $500,000 required.
But on Wednesday, the committee’s prayers were answered as the premier announced $300,000 in funding for the project.
Patron of the fundraising committee, Vicki Wilson, said the funding was “unbelievable”.
“We’ve done everything we can to fund-raise for this project, but businesses here in town just don’t have the money [to cover the full cost],” she said.
“Half a million dollars is a lot of money. People here are affected by the drought.
“To be given this amount of funding is amazing.”
Cr Monica Morse agreed.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think we would receive this,” she said.
Member for Bathurst, Paul Toole, said the Carillon is truly the heart of the area.
“The fact so many people have been working tirelessly for years to complete it, as the original design intended, shows how beloved it is by our community,” he said.
“I am extremely proud to be here with the premier today to announce the government will be providing $300,000 so the community can complete the work needed and upgrade the bells and eternal flame.”
Ms Berejiklian said the funding was the result of hard work undertaken by many in the Bathurst community.
She said the war memorial was a testament to the region’s people and their dedication to their community and the sacrifices of those who had gone before them.
“I am proud that my Government is able to assist with the completion of this worthy project,” she said.