Consultants Hansen Partnership were appointed by Council to prepare a Master Plan for for the Osborne House precinct. The area under review covers the St Helen’s car park area to Mackey Street and from Melbourne Road to the Bay. A committee comprising representatives from industry, the port, residents, developers, tenant groups of Osborne House and council officers has been established and has had one meeting to date. Following further committee meetings, the consultants will ultimately prepare a report to council which will go to public consultation in the new year with an expectation that a future for the entire Osborne Park precinct will be finalized by April 2019.
August 2018 Update
Since January 2018 the process of removing all furniture and effects from all areas of Osborne House has been underway. Conservators and contractors have removed, cleaned and packed and in some instances, discarded if contaminated, collection items from the Maritime Museum, the Geelong Museum Association’s House museum, the Vietnam Veterans Association museum as well as all 12 tenant groups.
Carpets and curtains (some of which were installed in the 1970s) have been removed and continuous mould checks have been conducted in all areas. The media reports of May 2017 asserted that the building was covered in mould throughout and this was completely false and misleading. Mould spores were found in less than 20% of the 90+ spaces in Osborne House and Stables. It was located where known roof leaks occurred, where spouting and drainage was known not to cope in a torrential downpour and where old carpet had been wet during these rain events. The main building was not, as also reported, derelict in some areas; it was exactly as the Shire of Corio left it when the staff moved out following amalgamation in 1993. With community groups being the only occupants during the intervening years, maintenance and upgrades to 2017/18 standards were not undertaken in the expectation that a future developer or business plan would be responsible for what was required to meet their own needs.
In 2009 a Conservation Management Plan for the Osborne House precinct, prepared by Lovell Chen, Architects and Heritage Consultants, was adopted by CoGG Council. The recommendations of this report set out exactly what is required to conserve, restore and protect, Osborne House , the Stables and environs. Following the vote at Council on 24 July, Lovell Chen were again engaged to update their 2009 report. These 2 documents are the blue print for the conservation and management of the Osborne House site into the future.
JULY 2018: HISTORY IS WITNESSED BY THE COMMUNITY
History was made on 24 July 2018 when a motion was put by Cr Eddy Kontelj and seconded by Cr Anthony Aitken to retain Osborne House in community ownership. The vote was passed by majority and the large gallery erupted in great applause.
Osborne House was a debt free endowment to the community of Geelong upon amalgamation of Geelong’s municipal councils in 1993 and members of the Osborne Park Association have worked towards this July outcome since the Association’s inception in 1999.
There have been numerous expressions of interest called by successive councils for the Osborne House site over the intervening years but without any outcome from these proposals, community groups leased various areas of the property for several years.
Osborne House was purchased in 1937 by the Shire of Corio using rate payers’ money. It was maintained and extended using rate payers’ money during the Shire’s 52 years of ownership and occupation. It was this Associations’ contention that the property therefore belongs to the people of Geelong.
It was a momentous and joyous occasion on 24 July to finally achieve our objective of having Osborne House Geelong voted by Council to remain in community ownership and we gratefully acknowledge Crs Kontelj and Aitken and their fellow councillors for their commitment to the community.
UPDATE ON THE CLOSURE OF OSBORNE HOUSE
THE PROPERTY IS CLOSED TO ALL TENANT & USER GROUPS AND THE PUBLIC INDEFINITELY
Work has started on maintenance issues at Osborne House but it’s going to be a long slow process.
In March 2017 each area of the building complex was assessed by an external hygienist appointed by City of Greater Geelong. Based on his report to council, a program of mould cleaning and maintenance was established and work began in early January 2018.
A conservator and three assistants have commenced work in the Vietnam Veterans meeting rooms and Museum. All fixtures, fittings, furniture and museum artefacts have to be checked, tested, cleaned and as appropriate, packed and stored.
This same procedure will apply to all leased areas of Osborne House: ie: that which accommodates –
· Geelong Maritime Museum and Geelong Memorial Brass Band in the Stables complex
· Geelong Museum Association in the Mansion
· The Osborne Park Association, Corio Bay Camera Club, VIGEX and Geelong Model & Experimental Engineers in the East Wing
· The British Farm Machinery Restoration Group and Rotary-in-Kind in the Depot Yard.
All of these groups have found alternative venues or meeting rooms for the foreseeable future. Please contact the group secretary for inquiries regarding their meeting times and venues.
The Osborne Park Association meets on the 3rd Wednesday of the month at theThe Osborne Park Association meets on the 3rd Wednesday of the month at the
Leisure Time Centre, Anakie Road, Bell Park at 7pm
Osborne House Closed until further notice due to Health Concerns.
Osborne House is closed indefinitely to all tenants and visitors due to health concerns as mould spores have been found in a limited number of areas in the building.
An extensive maintenance program is now under way at Osborne House to rectify the problems found.