Meeting to gauge Wodonga museum interest told it could be based on land next to city's RSL sub-branch

Show place: Land next to Wodonga's RSL Club in Reid Street, opposite the Quest apartments building, would house a city museum under a proposal by Bill Tilley.
Show place: Land next to Wodonga's RSL Club in Reid Street, opposite the Quest apartments building, would house a city museum under a proposal by Bill Tilley.

A PLAN to build a Wodonga museum next to the city’s RSL sub-branch has been floated by Bill Tilley.

The member for Benambra is vice-president of Wodonga RSL and was speaking in that capacity when he made the suggestion to a public meeting on Friday.

Mr Tilley said land east of the Reid Street RSL could be used for a museum which may also host the city’s brass band and army collections.

“We have to get a good solid business case collectively, and in partnership we could have a great facility,” he told a forum called by the Wodonga Historical Society to gauge support for a city museum.

Mr Tilley said land owned by VicTrack at the rear of the RSL formed part of the likely footprint for a museum.

As a result a land swap may be needed and Wodonga Council would be integral to planning issues such as rezoning and titles.

“We need them totally on-board to support this great community project,” Mr Tilley said.

Friday’s meeting at the Wodonga football club drew  about 100 people including councillors Ron Mildren and Tim Quilty.

Fellow councillors Kat Bennett, Libby Hall and Danny Lowe and business figures Tony Conway and Dawn George were apologies.

A motion for a museum was unanimously passed.

In part it stated: “We believe Wodonga needs a city museum that can properly collect, conserve, display and interpret artefacts, documents and photographs for the public, in particular for students.

“It would reflect pride in our past and foster a sense of identity in our present as we plan the future city.

“This meeting urges the council to declare its intention to achieve such a museum of Wodonga over time, utilising the core museum collection developed by the society.”

Society vice-president Marie Elliot, who has agitated for a museum, was delighted with the turnout.

“You’ve all made my day, I can’t believe such a crowd, this really encourages us to keep going,” she told the audience.

Asked by The Border Mail about a museum near the RSL, Mrs Elliot was sober.

“It’s better than not having a museum at all,” she said.

Yackandandah Museum’s Susan Reynolds told the audience that those over 70 would not live to see a Wodonga museum.

“These things take time,” she said.

“Be prepared to radically change your expectations because what each of you in your head sees may not be what happens.”

Beechworth’s Burke Museum boss Patrick Watt spoke.

“Don’t think you’re going into this to make money, you’re going into this to tell the story of your past, who you are and where you’re coming from,” he said.