Building an Irish Cultural, Community and Heritage Centre
The Friends of St Brigid's is developing the former church in Crossley, Victoria into the St Brigid’s Australian Irish Cultural, Community and Heritage Centre, which will be the first step in the development of an Australian-Irish touring trail. The Friends of St Brigid's saw the potential for cultural tourism and the opportunity to document the history of a predominantly Australian-Irish emigrant community, telling the story of a cultural journey that has taken place over the last 150 years in south-west Victoria. This innovative way to retain the buildings within the community and celebrate the area's cultural history is aided by an FRRR Project Donation Account.
The precinct includes the Church, which will house the cultural centre, the Community Hall and three acres overlooking the southern ocean. Funds raised in the past year have contributed to many hall improvements such as heating, air conditioning, smoothing out of the grounds and a commercial kitchen upgrade. This puts the Friends of St Brigid’s in a position to be able to use the facilities to generate revenue, increasing funding for the project overall. A Men’s Shed has also been established, bringing more skilled people along for the working bees in the effort to make the precinct easier to use and accessible to everyone.
The Centre will display photographs, music, books and historical documents, compiling a unique oral history supported by an expansive network of significant Irish immigrant sites throughout the area from Yambuk, Port Fairy to Killarney and Koroit.