Blacksmith Eoin McSwan (centre) with Lawrence Museum organisers (from left) Nev Rosendale, Esther Smith, Rae Harrison, Warren Hulme, Terry Harrison and Vois Bancroft in the new blacksmith’s shed. Photo: Adam Hourigan
Blacksmith Eoin McSwan (centre) with Lawrence Museum organisers (from left) Nev Rosendale, Esther Smith, Rae Harrison, Warren Hulme, Terry Harrison and Vois Bancroft in the new blacksmith’s shed. Photo: Adam Hourigan

Lawrence museum's leaky roof is making volunteers nervous

WITH hundreds of important relics of our area's rich history housed at the Lawrence Museum, the spectre of a leaky roof is understandably making volunteers nervous.

Lawrence Museum volunteer and publicity officer Vois Bancroft said while there was no immediate threat, a troubling report from a contractor a couple of years ago was a worry for volunteers.

"A couple of years ago, one of our members had some concerns about the roof being asbestos, which isn't really a problem if it's undisturbed, but he had the roof checked out," Mrs Bancroft said.

"We had someone - a contractor - up in the roof cavity and he said that there was a leak through the roof in places onto the oregon timber beams."

She said the contractor had been impressed by the "unique" structure of the 1930s-installed rafters in the ceiling cavity, but being timber they were susceptible to rot, which Mrs Bancroft said was a concern if there was indeed a leak present.

"So far nothing has shown through into the museum so we're just relying on what the contractor said back then. Still, to be rid of the asbestos roof would be a good thing anyway," she said.

Unfortunately the volunteer-run museum won't be able to get a new roof without some substantial help.

"It's way, way beyond our means; I think the quote they originally gave us a few years ago was close to $100,000. Well it's probably going to be a lot more than that now," Mrs Bancroft said.

Thankfully, it looks as though the project isn't off the cards completely, with Page MP Janelle Saffin making it her mission to try and secure federal funding for the work.

"A new roof, estimated to cost more than $100,000, would ensure that exhibitions of the district's early pioneers, development of this inland port which once rivalled Grafton, agriculture, sporting, cultural and communications, are kept safe for many years to come," Ms Saffin said.

"Small projects like this have big community benefit. They are about a way of life," she said.



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