A new picnic shelter has been added to the Central Tilba sportsground facilities. In the shadow of Gulaga, the sensitive upgrade reflects the strong significance of the site to the local Indigenous people and the heritage status of the Tilba area.
“Yes, it is ostensibly a sports field, but it is also a sacred place,” said Tilba District Chamber of Commerce president Susan Gray.
“In fact, this upgrade came out of the 2019 bunaan, when more than 100 Indigenous dancers from across Australia performed on the oval, and hundreds more attended – the first time such an event had been held in many, many years,” Ms Gray said
“It was a great success but there was nowhere for Elders to find a bit of shelter and relax with a cuppa.”
The Tilba community rallied, funnelling their ultimately successful application for a Community Rebuilding Trust grant through the Chamber. Ms Gray said it wasn’t all plain sailing.
“We had to check quite a few boxes to make sure we got things right for this community site – Council’s senior recreation planner helped us out there. And we had to amend the design in response to heritage advice,” she said.
“For example, the initial prefabbed steel and colourbond picnic shelter was replaced with a hardwood timber and galvanised iron roofed extension to the existing building, a far better outcome.”
The Community Rebuilding Trust contributed $41,000 to the project, with the Chamber providing a further $8,000. Ms Gray also thanked local builder Mark Brown for his contribution.
“With COVID impacts, building costs soared. However, Mark remained committed to his original quote, then went a step further, supplying downpipes at no charge,” she said.
“I was just there, looking up at Najunuga and admiring this lovely sheltered space. Yes, we’re already brainstorming ideas for future community events.”
Above: The new picnic shelter at Tilba, designed and built by local businesses, is the result of a community initiative supported by the Chamber and Council.