Ideas flow for Rutherglen’s tower icon

Indigo Shire councillor Don Chambers, chairman of the Rutherglen Wine Bottle Committee of Management Herb Ellerbock, Indigo councillor Roberta Horne, Indigo Shire councillor Barb Murdoch, North East Water executive manager of planning and infrastructure Kevin Freeman. Picture: DAVID THORPE

Indigo Shire councillor Don Chambers, chairman of the Rutherglen Wine Bottle Committee of Management Herb Ellerbock, Indigo councillor Roberta Horne, Indigo Shire councillor Barb Murdoch, North East Water executive manager of planning and infrastructure Kevin Freeman. Picture: DAVID THORPE

RUTHERGLEN’S iconic wine bottle water tower may soon be lighting up the night sky.

North East Water handed ownership of the tower to Indigo Council for $1 yesterday.

Ideas for the site, including lighting the structure with floodlights and projecting art onto it, are being considered.

Councillor Don Chambers was relieved ownership of the tower had been given back to the community after a “long, drawn-out process” spanning several decades.

“We didn’t want to see it knocked over,” he said.

“It’s an icon on Tower Hill and it’s being preserved for the future.”

The future of the tower was uncertain for many years before the water authority agreed to repair it and hand it to the council.

Cr Chambers said debate had been under way when he moved to the area in 1983.

Now the structure has been saved, a committee must decide what to do with it.

Resident Brendan Smith said the area was likely to have gardens, seating and barbecues installed to attract tourists.

“One idea is to have projection art and to light it up similar to the Wodonga water tower,” he said.

“It’s a beacon that can be seen for miles, and it could be seen twice as far if it was lit up.”

The committee can apply for funding to undertake work on the site, but the wine bottle is structurally sound.

Mark Florence said there was a good opportunity to turn the tower into a tourist attraction.

“I think the main story in all this is the persistence of the community of Rutherglen which saw this as a major icon and tourist attraction to the town,” he said.

“The committee which has worked on it over a number of years should take the glory to have got to this point.”

Work to repair the top of the tower and safety improvements were undertaken at the site.

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