UPDATE: Bendigo District RSL Sub-branch has welcomed a council pledge to spend $230,000 to design an upgrade and expansion of Bendigo RSL Soldiers' Memorial Hall.
The council will contribute $50,000 towards the project and the federal government has also committed $180,000 for its design.
Sub-branch secretary Paul Penno said the total project cost was estimated at about $4 million.
"With announcement of funding by the mayor of the City of Greater Bendigo, and in conjunction with a previous announcement by Senator Michael Ronaldson, Minister for Veterans Affairs of a $180,000 commitment, combined with previously allocated combined contributions ($50,000) from both the RSL and the City of Greater Bendigo, we are now in a position bring the redevelopment/upgrade of this iconic building to the final planning stage," Mr Penno said.
"The Bendigo RSL has been active lobbying key members of local, state and Commonwealth governments regarding this proposal and have been met with positive responses.
"At the completion of detailed architectural and engineering drawings, the Bendigo District RSL will be approaching all levels of government for a commitment of funding to complete this project."
THE proposed City of Greater Bendigo Budget for 2014/2015 will include $230,000 to fund the detailed design to upgrade and expand the Bendigo RSL Soldier’s Memorial Hall.
The designs will focus on renewing the building externally and internally to restore and enhance its original features and include universal accessibility upgrades, another gallery space at the rear to house travelling exhibitions, workshop space for curation, storage and public amenities.
The council will contribute $50,000 towards the project and the Federal Government has also committed $180,000 through its Community Development Grants.
The project is expected to be completed in two stages,
Firstly their will be internal demolition and reconstruction and restoration of the existing Soldier’s Memorial.
Secondly, their will be demolition of 1930s additions to the building to construct a new exhibition gallery.
Mayor Barry Lyons said the funding would be used to develop plans to better accommodate the Museum’s operations and ensure the building remains viable.
“The building has significant historical and social importance and the proposed plans will further enhance the RSL’s ability to better engage and educate residents and visitors," he said.
Local Sub Branch Secretary Paul Penno welcomed the funding.
“The facility on Pall Mall is widely regarded as the benchmark military museum in regional Australia and the opportunity to develop it into a state-of-the-art facility is eagerly anticipated,” he said.
The building on Pall Mall was constructed in 1921 as a permanent memorial to all those from Bendigo who served in World War I and is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register.