ONE of Inverell Shire's oldest buildings, the original station store at Kings Plains has been restored to its former glory thanks to a heritage grant from Inverell Shire Council.
The store, which stands alongside Kings Plains Castle, was built in 1840, prior to the construction of the grand castle; and over the years has also been used as a school and a post office.
Owner of the property and recipient of the fund, Will Hollingworth, says the funds have enabled restoration of the historic building following damage from white ants.
"Thanks to the funding, we were able to restore the foundation and structure of the store, the hardwood flooring on the verandah, the internal lining, shelving and counter inside the store, and the hardwood weatherboards and gutters, all of which had been destroyed by termites," he said.
Mr Hollingworth said the Kings Plains store will now be utilised to showcase the heritage of the area and the 28-room castle and be available for guests, visitors and tour groups to view.
Mayor Paul Harmon explained Council offers the annual Heritage Assistance Fund to help owners preserve some of the district's oldest buildings.
"Each year, Council partners with the NSW Government and Heritage NSW to provide small grants to property owners for the conservation and restoration of buildings that have what we call heritage significance."
"The fund helps owners who want to repair or conserve structural elements of a heritage building or preserve historic remnants of existing buildings".
Mayor Harmon says the fund also ensures the shire is on the front foot for attracting the growing number of tourists that enjoy visiting heritage buildings, sites and monuments.
The National Trust states heritage tourism is one of the fastest growing tourist markets and pre-COVID-19, was increasing by 11.2 per cent each year.
Cr Harmon says he's eager to see Inverell Shire capture a slice of the booming market.
"Council recognises these historic buildings add value to our community, but they also bring tourist dollars to our shire".