Centre future on hold

Advocate, LIBBY BINGHAM, p.2 – 16 April  2013

A DECISION on the future and possible redevelopment of Devonport tourist attraction, Tiagarra Museum and Cultural Centre, which has been closed for months over the peak tourist season, has been deferred by the Devonport City Council.
The council, which owns and maintains the building, voted last night for all issues related to Tiagarra to be discussed behind doors at a council workshop before the matter goes to a future council meeting.
Tiagarra is managed by the Six Rivers Aboriginal Corporation.
Last night the corporation was seeking a commitment and in- principle support from the council to keep working with it in relation to the redevelopment of Tiagarra.
The corporation also wants to bring in more people from other areas of the state to make Tiagarra what it could become.
A report to the council said stakeholders and funding bodies identified that to redevelop Tiagarra it would cost about $300,000 and require a high level of collaboration and focus on developing a plan for the upgrade and enhancement of the 35-year- old displays and museum.
Since Tiagarra and the corporation were placed under voluntary review last year, Tiagarra has been largely closed to the public, except by appointment for school and tour groups.
The review came after the registrar of Indigenous Corporations appointed special administrators at Six Rivers Aboriginal Corporation on receiving a request from the former directors.
A new corporation board and general manager have been appointed to take over again.
The old business model at Tiagarra is seen as flawed and not sustainable, particularly during winter months, and as a tourism venture Tiagarra has failed to deliver a commercial return for many years.
However, Tiagarra has continued to attract a growing level of interest from school groups wanting to visit the centre.
It is seen as an asset of significance on the Devonport City Council tourist trail and is considered important and unique, in Tasmania particularly, as a museum and a celebration of Aboriginal culture and history.
Tiagarra was built on Crown land which is leased by the council and sublet to the Six Rivers Aboriginal Corporation. In 2010, the council signed a partnership agreement with the corporation to work together on Tiagarra.