New life for historic Bourke police residence

The NSW Government has renovated and upgraded a heritage-listed former police residence in Bourke which will be used by CatholicCare Wilcannia-Forbes as its new Bourke office for social and community services.

The 119-year-old building at 28 Mertin Street has been renovated by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment – Crown Lands to help benefit the regional community.

“This is fantastic news for the not-for-profit CatholicCare, which has been appointed Crown land manager of the site, and the thousands of residents it supports,” NSW Nationals Upper House MP Sam Farraway said.

“The former police residence will be used as the Bourke branch office for CatholicCare’s Wilcannia–Forbes diocese which is the largest in NSW, operating across 14 offices and 414,000 square kilometres covering more than half the entire State.”

DPIE Crown Lands has undertaken $59,700 in renovations supplemented by a $51,580 grant from its Crown Reserves Improvement Fund (CRIF) to renovate and reactivate the heritage building which is located on Crown land reserved for community and heritage.

The building has been relevelled and an upgraded kitchen installed including new cabinets, wall sheeting and a custom timber benchtop with a tile splashback.

The bathroom was stripped and resheeted and a new floor, shower, toilet and vanity installed along with tiling. New flooring and tiling was also installed in the laundry and shower rooms and new guttering and downpipes on the roof to support drainage.

The upgrade was finished off with interior and exterior painting in heritage colours.

Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said the building was originally constructed 1901 to the design of colonial architect Walter Liberty Vernon, who also designed the Department of Lands Office in Mitchell Street.

CatholicCare was selected to be appointed Crown Land manager of the site following a public expression of interest process by DPIE – Crown Lands.

“This great old building was previously used as a police sergeant’s residence and a women’s refuge but will now embark on an exciting new chapter in its history,” Mrs Pavey said.

“CatholicCare has served the diocese for over 25 years with community services and support to help people deal with financial, mental health, family and relationship, and domestic violence issues, as well as youth programs.”

CatholicCare Wilcannia-Forbes CEO Anne-Marie Mioche said: “We are very grateful to be offered use of this building which is very well located and will allow us to engage with the community much more effectively. Its yard areas will be well used by family play groups and there is lots of room inside for community events providing great potential.”

Anthony Azevedo from Crown Lands' Bourke office hands over the keys to Alicia Tiffen from CatholicCare Willcannia-Forbes.

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