Tamworth Regional Heritage Festival and Awards

Heritage Festival Logo

This event has been cancelled to help minimise the spread of COVID-19.

Discover our region’s rich heritage during the Tamworth Regional Heritage Festival.

Featuring a program of exciting events centred around the theme “Our heritage for our future”, the Festival will uncover unique stories and histories from right across the region through tours, exhibitions, open days and more.

To understand where we’re headed, we’ve got to understand where we’ve come from.

Tamworth Regional Heritage Awards

The 2020 Tamworth Regional Biennial Heritage Awards were announced on Friday 15 May at the Tamworth Regional Gallery. They recognised the outstanding commitment and contribution to heritage conservation, adaptive reuse and interpretation in the Tamworth region.

This year, the awards adapted were broadcast live on Tamworth Regional Council's Facebook page to adhere to social distancing regulations.

The categories and their winners are:

Commendations awarded by the Tamworth Regional Heritage Working Group
• Tamworth Regional Gallery, for the promotion of our region’s heritage through their centenary events and catalogue produced for the exhibition, “A View from 1919: A century of the Tamworth Regional Gallery collection”.
• Tamworth Regional Film and Sound Archive Centre, for the conservation and promotion of heritage within our region including Ison's World War I Cinema Slides; a collection of documentary heritage which was inscribed to the UNESCO Australian Memory of the World Register in 2019.
• National Guitar Museum, for their foundation year in 2020 and promotion of heritage within our region through the installation of a historically significant exhibition.

Aboriginal Cultural Heritage
A new addition to the Heritage Awards, this category aims to raise awareness and encourage the conservation of Aboriginal cultural history within the Tamworth region.

Winner - Len Waters for Len Waters Aboriginal Cultural Tours
Len Waters Aboriginal Cultural Tours is a family-run business that offers an insight into the vast wealth of information developed by the Kamilaroi people and will leave listeners with a new understanding of the richness of Aboriginal culture in the local area. Mr Waters is widely respected for his passion and contribution to our Aboriginal community. He has given many hours to the community. On his cultural tours, he shares cultural knowledge, stories and traditions including customs and practices; covering everything from traditional initiations, navigations, astronomy and language.

Adaptive Re-Use
Recognises projects that have utilised and complimented the existing heritage structure and have adapted the building for a new purpose while maintaining the historical integrity of the original structure.

Winner - The Leader Building by Lionheart Property
The Leader Building has been restored by locally-owned Lionheart Property. Hard work and dedication went into the restoration of this iconic and high profile building. The successful adaptive reuse of the Northern Daily Leader building is a testament to the commitment of the project team in providing a building which presents a contemporary use in a seamless transition from its original purpose and design.

Building Conservation
Nominations in this category highlighted efforts across the region to preserve the built history of a structure.

Highly Commended
Benjamin Mobilo for 91 Denison Street Tamworth
The Dwyer Family Superfund for 312 Peel Street Tamworth
Highbond Pty Ltd for 370-372 Peel Street, Tamworth

Winner - Duncan and Megan Trousdale for Odgers and McClelland Exchange Store, Nundle
Located in the heart of Nundle, The Odgers and McClelland Exchange Store was established in 1891. The previous awning (a 1990s non-original) had deteriorated to the point where it threatened the continuing preservation of the building by pulling the structure away from the weatherboard façade. A photograph thought to have been taken during World War I formed the basis of the works, and was combined with improved drainage and ventilation to assist with the preservation of the structure.

Heritage Resources and Publications
The Heritage Resources and Publication category includes historical research and conservation management plan documents. These resources will enable future generations to develop a greater understanding of the region’s heritage.

Winner - Tamworth Powerstation Museum for the Vaness Letter Book Conservation and Display
The Veness Letter Book has been recognised in UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register for the preservation of the letters that tell a story of national significance. The Veness Letter Book is comprised of official correspondence relating to the establishment of Australia’s first municipal electric lighting plant and system in Tamworth. It contains founding documents in the development and installation of electricity in Australia. A purpose-built cabinet has been installed at the Tamworth Powerstation Museum to prominently display the documents that interpret the 1881-1890 Letter Book of Tamworth’s first Town Clerk, Daniel Frederick William Veness.

Heritage Tourism, Education and Interpretation
Recognises publications, displays, events or tourism attractions that have preserved our heritage so that it can be shared with the community for years to come.

Winner - Tamworth Powerstation Museum for the completion of the Display Cabinet Program
The installation of 37 high quality, secure, illuminated display cabinets has taken ten years to complete. The cabinets house the artefacts and displays throughout the Powerstation Museum. The Powerstation Museum is the only dedicated electrical museum where visitors are invited to explore and learn about the history of electrical innovation.

New Sympathetic Development
Aims at preserving and complimenting the character of a historically-significant structure or precinct. It should respect the heritage whilst embracing the new in a way that will meet the needs of the end users.

Whilst there is not an individual award winner for this category this year, the Tamworth Regional Heritage Working Group would like to congratulate all those who contributed to this category and the commitment to their projects.

Warren Newman Memorial Award for Contribution to Heritage within the region
Recognises a person who has made a significant and ongoing voluntary contribution to the conversation, promotion and understanding of cultural heritage within the Tamworth region.

Winner - Kenneth Thomas Russell
Mr Russell is to be commended for his commitment to promoting Tamworth’s City of Light cultural heritage, and for his archival work conserving Tamworth’s pioneering heritage on electricity generation and supply during the period 1888 to 1972.
Mr Russell was involved in the establishment of the Tamworth Powerstation Museum in 1988, and has been a volunteer there for the past 21 years. He has researched much of the technical and social history surrounding Tamworth’s early history and key objects in the museum’s collection. This coupled with his enviable long memory and in-depth electrical knowledge has enabled him to produce more than 55 comprehensive educational panels for the museum, which explain the working, technical and social features of the exhibits for everyone to understand. He has also preserved some 4,000 items in the Museum’s archive, including repairing books, sorting papers, illustrations, photographs and drawings that record Tamworth’s electricity undertaking from its very beginning in 1888.
Ken’s excellence as a museum tour guide is recognised with the numerous mentions of his knowledge and service that can be found in the Museum’s visitor book.




Goonoo Goonoo Station Heritage Photo Bicentennial Park Construction 1988 Opening of Tamworth Town Hall 1934