Our local treasure we tend to ignore

IT’S been 21 years since Arthur Boyd handed over Bundanon Trust as a gift to the nation, yet locals still fail to lap up its rich offerings.

Local visitation to the homestead from January to December 2013 sat at 24 per cent, with three quarters of visitors checking in from out of town.

Bundanon Trust community engagement officer Regina Heilmann said the trust had in recent years been reaching out to the local community to change these statistics.

“Locals tend to come to us when they have visitors from out of town. So often we find visitors know more about our local area than the locals do,” Ms Heilmann said.

“With local visitation, there tends to be a real contrast between the homestead and our other recent initiatives like concerts and our community outreach programs.”

In October last year, Niteworks, a public event was held which attracted around 1000 people, with 50 per cent of the audience checking in from postcode zones 2541 and 2540.

The evening included art exhibitions, night walks, a performance by Bomaderry High School students, artist talks, star gazing with astronomers and music. 

Ms Heilmann said the trust was hoping to continue and strengthen that relationship with the community through local schools.

“We designed the Bundanon local program, which has been running for three years now, with a suite of activities for a younger audience and disadvantaged children and have been working directly with headspace in Nowra so to become a significant resource within the community.

“We want to interest the locals with the vibrancy of the place and the programs we offer,” 

she said.

Sitting on 1100 hectares over two properties with a heritage site, extensive bush and farm land, wildlife refuge, Riversdale event program and artists in residence, Ms Heilmann said Bundanon had particularly targeted local schools to start a chain reaction and generate interest among local families.

“It’s a slow process. We are in the bush, away from the CBD, there is no public transport and I think people get a sense that we are too far away,” she said.

“In this way, through our active programs, the children will experience the site, attend our tours, respond to arts, the bush, environmental art projects. They can camp, kayak and meet the people who work the land and the animals.

“Our intention is they will go home and talk to their parents and other children, encouraging them to come.”

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