Golden Spanner Marks Completion of WGAC Milestone

Published on 08 February 2018

A giant golden spanner has been used to ceremoniously tighten the final bolts on the new structural steel framework at the West Gippsland Arts Centre (WGAC) upgrade project.

Wielding the giant golden spanner, the Mayor along with Council staff and community representatives tightened the final bolts to join together the huge 1200mm high steel beams which span the auditorium ready to support the new balcony seating platform.

When the building was first planned in the late 1970’s, it was intended that the WGAC would have 750 or more seats on two levels. Budget constraints at the time meant the balcony seating was cut from the plans.

Mayor of Baw Baw Shire Cr Gauci stated that today’s action marks an important step in ‘finishing the job’ started by our predecessors over thirty years ago.

Assisting the Mayor were representatives of two of the community groups who will be first to present performances in the refurbished building when it reopens in August. Anne Mc Niff, Pauline Hastings and Jeanette Thomas from the West Gippsland Music and Drama Society were very excited to be part of the ceremony and look forward to returning their important annual event to its ‘home’.

Steve Wiegerink, Head of Drama at Warragul Regional College was also there with students who will be appearing in their school musical production, “We Will Rock You!’. Their show will have the extra excitement of being one of the first productions staged with the benefits of the stage and back-stage improvements that will come with the upgrade.

Also attending was WGAC’s ‘number one ticket buyer’, Lawrence Mitchell of Jindivick. 90 year old Mr Mitchell is a regular attender of all sorts of productions at the arts centre and during the close down for works, he has enjoyed the centre’s ‘Outside the Walls’ program presenting shows in local halls.

Mr Mitchell said he was very excitedly looking forward to seeing everything the refurbished centre had to offer.

After securing the main beams, the gathered guests and workers all signed the beam. Although the beam will be enclosed once work is completed, the names will be there for posterity in the same way as the special back stage chalk graffiti walls record the many artists who have performed in the centre over the years.

Head contractor, Building Engineering are working very hard over the next few months to ensure the project is on track to meet the completion deadline.

Mayor Joe Gauci turns the bolt with the assistance of members of the community

Baw Baw Shire Mayor Cr Joe Gauci turns the main bolt with the assistance of community members. 

Mayor Joe Gauci is joined by staff and members of the community to mark the occasion

The Mayor is joined by staff and members of the community to mark the occasion.