The poetry of Andrew Barton “Banjo” Patterson has always been part of Winton’s history. Following a devastating fire at the previous Waltzing Matilda centre in 2015, the new $18 million museum and exhibition space ensures the Australian spirit and heartland of bush poetry lives on through the centre’s unique collections and the building’s own iconic design.
Winton has always punched above its weight in terms of history, culture and innovation; from the Great Shearers' Strike of 1891 to the first performance of Waltzing Matilda, birth of Qantas and discovery of the world’s only recorded dinosaur stampede.
COX Architecture were tasked with the challenge of designing a space that would truly celebrate Australia’s best known story and the true character of the town of Winton.
“The design of the centre is a response to the highly sculptural landscape which has been formed by nature over millions of years,” says COX Architecture Project Director, Brendan Gaffney.
“We chose concrete and rusted steel to bring to life the iconic Winton landscape with its ‘jump-up’ rock formations, distinctive shapes made through weathering and water movement, including the classic billabongs,” says Gaffney.
Cemintel’s Barestone range connects visitors to the Winton landscape through its natural tone which will continue to evolve as it weathers naturally.
“Barestone’s colour continuity and texture were perfect counterpoints to the rough coarseness of the outside. The flexibility of the product allowed us to incorporate different shapes and sizes for dramatic effect,” says Gaffney.
While the aesthetic appearance of the building was key to its design, performance and resilience were also essential considerations.
“We wanted the building to be memorable, but it also needed to protect the artefacts and exhibitions displayed within and ensure ongoing maintenance was kept to a minimum,” continues Gaffney.
Winton experiences temperatures of up to 45 degrees celsius in the summer and can experience cold snaps in winter.
“Cemintel’s Barestone range doesn't absorb moisture or shrink, swell or move around a lot; it’s practically indestructible. It’s a robust and economical cladding choice that has allowed us to achieve the desired aesthetic without compromising on performance,” adds Gaffney.
The new Waltzing Matilda centre opened in April of 2018 and is expected to attract up to 40,000 visitors to the town of Winton. Centre Manager, Cameron Mace, says the new eye-catching building has made the town a talking point and must-visit destination for those seeking authentic Australian history and experiences.
“The Waltzing Matilda Centre is a drawcard for locals, school groups and both domestic and international tourists alike. With the new centre we are now able to efficiently cater to a greater number and diversity of people and functions,” says Mace.
According to Mace, from the outside in, the new museum epitomises the pioneering and resilient spirit of the Australian outback.
“Waltzing Matilda is an essential part of who we are as Australians and the new centre will ensure that the history, culture and character of the outback will live on with each visitor that passes through our doors,” concludes Mace.