Hunter Wetlands Centre receives NSW government grant for visitor centre and main gallery overhaul

Hunter Wetlands Centre’s renewal program has been given a boost after the NSW government announced funding for the redevelopment of the main gallery and visitor’s centre on Tuesday. 

The $146,820 grant is part of the state government’s Clubgrants Category 3 Fund, which reinvests 0.4 per cent of clubs' gaming machine profits over $1 million back into community projects. 

The funds will see modern fittings and technology installed in the Max Maddock Visitors Centre, enhancing how the organisation engages visitors. 

“Feedback from the local indigenous community has been incorporated in the design plan,” Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald MLC said. 

The Max Maddock Visitors Centre at Hunter Wetlands Centre at Shortland.

The Max Maddock Visitors Centre at Hunter Wetlands Centre at Shortland.

“The redeveloped main gallery will improve visitors’ experience and their understanding of the role wetlands play in our environment.

“The Hunter Wetlands Centre is important to the Newcastle community for ecological conservation and the educational value it provides and I’m pleased the NSW Government is able to support the Centre.”

Hunter Wetlands Centre called for assistance from the three levels of government in May, after financial strain forced it to undertake a comprehensive business model review. 

The announcement of an external review is expected in coming weeks, but Hunter Wetlands Centre chairman David Crofts said the funding was an important step in ensuring visitor numbers climb. 

“The Centre is committed to ensuring all the community can experience and understand our wonderful wetlands, and the grant will greatly assist us to improve our interpretative facilities,” Mr Crofts said.

“We will engage the creative energies of local artists and interactive technology experts to provide ever changing information about the Wetlands in new and exciting ways.

“The renewed visitor display area will vastly improve our appeal to a wider audience, particular younger age groups.”