Passers-by might be forgiven for thinking the walls of the Bendigo Soldiers Memorial Institute have changed colour when restoration works are completed late next year.
But people should not be alarmed. The change would be historically accurate.
Time and a patchwork of render repairs had left the overall tone of the building a shade of gray.
Yet there was evidence the exterior walls had once been coloured differently, according to City of Greater Bendigo heritage building/assets advisor Megan McDougall
“The original building is constructed of brick which was rendered. There is evidence on the building that it had a warm stone coloured ‘wash’ coat,” she said.
“Once the render repairs have been completed, a wash coat will be applied, with the colour matched to the remnants of the original finish, reinstating the warm sandstone appearance to the now grey render.
“The wash coat will also protect the building by filling hairline cracks in the render.”
Ms McDougall’s comments came after the Bendigo District RSL Sub-Branch launched a fundraiser on Wednesday to help get the last of the cash needed for the revitalisation project.
The branch had committed to providing $500,000, with $250,000 already raised by May 2017.
The most recent funding push kicked off with a $50,000 donation from the family of the late returned serviceman Warwick Johanson, who had been heavily involved in the RSL and in later years often volunteered as a museum guide.
The institute was constructed in 1919 as a permanent memorial to those who served in World War One and was included on the Victorian Heritage Register.
It was also regarded as the largest memorial museum outside of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
As well as rendering exterior walls, the $4.5 million restoration project included conservation work and a new exhibition gallery complete with climate control features, storage and preparation areas.
There would also be a total roof replacement and new sky lights. The Billiard Room would be restumped and get a new floor, while the ceiling and plaster would be repaired.
Donations could be made at any Bendigo & Adelaide Bank branch or online. They could also be made at the Bendigo District RSL at 73-75 Havilah Road, Bendigo between 9am and 5pm daily.
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