Chiltern’s pride and Joy

Indigo mayor Bernard Gaffney and Bill Tilley admire the restored Chiltern Recreational Park Reserve grandstand with Joy Lee, who drove the project for the reserve committee. Picture: KYLIE ESLER

Indigo mayor Bernard Gaffney and Bill Tilley admire the restored Chiltern Recreational Park Reserve grandstand with Joy Lee, who drove the project for the reserve committee. Picture: KYLIE ESLER

WITH its fresh coat of paint and brand new roof, you’d never think Chiltern’s grandstand was built in 1879.

The historic structure has had a new lease on life, thanks to the work of people like Joy Lee.

Where once a dilapidated and tired building structure stood, red paint flaking off the iron roof, there’s a charming grandstand fully restored to its former glory.

Though the work was completed some months ago, yesterday was its official opening of the oldest grandstand of its type in Victoria.

It was time to thank all who helped the project, particularly Mrs Lee, of the Chiltern Park Recreational Reserve committee of management.

Mrs Lee joined the committee several years ago and was soon made aware of the need to save the grandstand.

“What we thought would be a small project turned out to be a little bigger,” she said.

It was a real town effort, she said.

Tradespeople gave time and services while locals contributed to regular fund-raisers that brought in more than $5000.

“I had everyone fairly well trained,” Mrs Lee chuckled.

“You didn’t come down the street without $2 for a raffle ticket.”

The project also benefited from $25,900 in Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries, and funds from Indigo Council.

Benambra MP Bill Tilley said it was delighted to see it completed.

“The only (grandstand) of its kind in Victoria stands here and hopefully will remain here until the end of time,” he said.

The structure was built on a mullock heap left from the town’s early mining days.

The Chiltern Park Recreation Reserve committee was recognised at the recent Indigo Heritage Awards 2014 with the Restoration of a Heritage Place Award.

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