Bundarra’s rich history has caught the eye of Uralla Shire’s heritage adviser.
The region has changed a lot since the 1840’s, but Mitch McKay, Uralla Shire Council’s heritage adviser, is determined to keep the facades as true to history as possible.
“You get to know a bit about the history of the place – and it’s not just the history of Uralla, you’ve got Bundarra too,” heritage advisor Mitch McKay said.
“I think Bundarra is a sleeping giant, it’s a town that has huge potential to attract more business to it.”
Little known is that the first president of the Country Women’s Association came from Bundarra.
And, the book The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith – that later became a movie, was filmed in Bundarra.
“If you start telling these stories, you start attracting people to the town to learn more,” Mr McKay said.
Visiting town once a month, Mitch McKay helps residents to develop, or redevelop buildings sympathetic to the town’s traditional style.
“The idea is that heritage isn’t there to stop development or redevelopment, it’s there to ensure development is done in a sympathetic manner,” Mr McKay said.
“The whole idea is not to replicate anything in any alteration that you’re doing.
“Any alteration should be seen as being easily defined from the old to the new.”
Working in local government for 28 years, Mr McKay said no heritage advisor has the same skill set.
Some have an archeology background, or landscaping, others from architecture.
Mr McKay worked in urban and regional planning.
He said Uralla’s main street is its best feature.
“You go from Victorian, to Federation to interwar period,” he said.
“The streetscape [in Uralla] is pretty well in tact.
“The feature is the above-awnings, the parapet details.
“We generally try not to remove any of the original features of the building – if you do, the streetscape that Uralla prides itself on starts to disappear.”
Anyone in the Uralla Shire Council has access to Mr McKay’s expertise – free of charge. “It provides a sense of place for the community – people tend to want to go to towns that look good, that have a bit of a buzz,” Mr McKay said.