Bob Cook has a vision for a bigger, better and more professionally run Newcastle Maritime Centre

Newcastle Maritime Centre may rise from the ashes under a new management and membership structure. 

Long-time maritime centre member Bob Cook is among several former members who are keen to ensure the city’s rich maritime heritage collection is appropriately displayed and maintained. 

Vision: Long-time Newcastle Maritime Centre member Bob Cook wants to rebuild the Newcastle Maritime Centre. Photo: Jonathan Carroll

Vision: Long-time Newcastle Maritime Centre member Bob Cook wants to rebuild the Newcastle Maritime Centre. Photo: Jonathan Carroll

“I have a vision of something that would be bigger and more professionally managed than what we had before,” he said. 

Newcastle City Council took stewardship of the museum’s substantial collection after the centre collapsed in late May with about $200,000 owing to the Hunter Development Corporation and the council.

Mr Cook, a member of 30 years, said he was considering calling a public meeting to seek opinions about the best way to move forward. 

“We need to test the will for what people want to do,” Mr Cook said. 

“It may be that the existing maritime society structure could continue or a completely new structure might be more appropriate.”

Former president Peter Morris, who was forced to take medical leave in late 2014,oversaw the relocation of the museum from Fort Scratchley to a newly restored building in Honeysuckle in 2007.

Mr Morris said Mr Cook’s proposal had merit and he was keen to see more detail. 

A Newcastle City Council spokesman confirmed the council had received financial statements from the organisation for the past two years. He would not comment about what the statements revealed but said they would be forwarded to the NSW Department of Fair Trading. 

The council has previously said ratepayers’ money would not be used to pay off the centre’s debts.

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