GREATER Bendigo councillors should sign off on a $65,450 package to help shift a mammoth collection of artifacts from the city's past, a new report recommends.
Councillors will decide on Monday whether to grant the funds to help the Bendigo Historical Society move its collection after the Public Records Office of Victoria said it could no longer be housed at a Nolan Street site.
The site is already overflowing with the historical society's collection and was not designed to preserve all of the pieces held there.
The historical society's collection is so large that it could take up to two years of "concerted sorting" to properly decant and move much of it, council staff have said in a report released ahead of Monday's vote.
It has given in-principle support to a plan that would move its extensive collection of documents and artifacts to "Building A North" at Bendigo TAFE's McCrae Street campus.
The campus has already featured in a separate discussion paper about possible homes for a new history museum, which historians began circulating earlier this year.
The old buildings at the campus are linked to one of the city's original museums.
Much of its collection was dumped down abandoned mine shafts or given away but it was once so illustrious that it contained a fully intact stuffed dodo, according to some accounts.
The Bendigo Advertiser is itself in the midst of an ongoing investigation into what happened to six Indigenous people's skulls that appeared in the collection in the 1890s.
They were likely taken from grave sites without loved ones' knowledge or consent.
Council officers say the relocation package should go ahead based on the expectation that the historical society is the party that enters into the lease with Bendigo TAFE and puts together a strategic plan in 2022.
They did detailed investigations on four other options including moving the historical society's paper-based collections into an Eaglehawk building run by an information management company.
They also considered adding four new air conditioned shipping containers at Nolan Street.
Another four containers are already on site in what is meant to be a temporary storage solution but historians say they are not designed to protect against moisture damage.
A solution is needed soon because the clock is ticking.
The public records office says it will hold off downgrading the collection's "Class A POD" accreditation if the council can make progress on rehousing plans.
It has also told the council that "failure to implement its recommendations will result in health and safety risks".
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