“This building is a perfect encapsulation of Muswellbrook, it’s an act of respect for your heritage that simultaneously looks ahead to the future”
The Donald Horne building at the Hunter Innovation Precinct in Muswellbrook was yesterday opened by the Prime Minister Anthony Albanese MP, Federal member for Hunter New England Dan Repacholi MP, State member for the Upper Hunter Dave Layzell MP and the Mayor of Muswellbrook Steve Reynolds.
The building is a key component of the planned transformation of Muswellbrook into a future focussed regional centre for the Upper Hunter. It contains the STEM innovation lab along with The Melt – one of Australia’s first Industrial prototyping labs and startup accelerators – supporting STEM training at the precinct, both in-house as well as delivered via programs in local schools.
The new building is connected by a glass bridge to Loxton House and is next door to Weidmann Cottage, both of which are State Heritage listed buildings. The heritage context has informed the shape and design of the new building. The bridge incorporates the representation of an artwork by Uncle Les Elvin, a Wonnarua elder and artist who made a significant contribution to the region and in 2011 became the fourth person and the first non-former mayor of Muswellbrook to receive the keys to the city. Representatives of Mr Elvins family and the Wonnarua community were present at the ceremony.
Encapsulating the aspirations for the building in transforming the Hunter Region, Donald Horne, who was raised in Muswellbrook, explained that his book the The Lucky Country “isn’t so much an examination of the role luck has played in Australian life, as an impassioned call for us to be a country where intelligence and imagination are prized as much as the other good qualities that have helped make the place what it is.”
The prime minister’s speech is transcribed Here