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Mr Deputy Speaker, I am a proud member of the Launceston community. This evening I rise to speak about the 20th anniversary, which is occurring next week, of the opening of the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery at the Launceston Rail Workshops which took place 20 years ago on 23 November 2001.
My fellow member for Bass, Ms O'Byrne, who, unfortunately, is not in the Chamber this evening but is in here with us, attended with me on that day, and it was a very special moment for the Launceston community. At the time I was a relatively new alderman at Launceston City Council. I place on the record the incredible amount of work and passion that the late Launceston Mayor, John Lees, had for this project, together with the director of the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery at the time, Chris Tassell.
They were so dedicated to the project of bringing to life an exceptionally iconic, unique and important part of Launceston's history.
So many City of Launceston employees worked hard to make this possible. In a word, it was really visionary. To see an abandoned site - and this site actually included all this incredible tooling and copper pipework; meters and meters of incredible assets that had been abandoned for years and was brought back to life and is now both nationally and internationally significant. The workshops themselves are extraordinary. That vision included the ongoing development of the area as a place of learning, a place of culture, and a place of recreation. Thousands of apprentices were taught a trade in the workshops there, and that has now grown to also include TAFE, the University of Tasmania, and, most recently, the fabulous Big Picture School.
This commitment was driven by federal and state and local governments across that time and it has evolved into a place where we celebrate, come together, and continue our deep learning, not only of our own city and our history, but of the role that this centre played in the history of Tasmania and Australia. I have always admired that it was the outcome of efforts of governments of all different political persuasions, both at the state and federal level, and it has ensured that the wonderful Launceston railway workshops remain a point of pride for the Launceston community.
Tonight, I thank the staff of the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, the employees of the Launceston City Council and the broader Launceston community who have worked over the past 20 years to ensure that these buildings remain preserved, that the collections remain cared for, and the Launceston community can engage with and understand our past. The railway workshops are a representation of Launceston at its best. It represents innovation, creativity and resilience.
Talking about Launceston and its creativity, innovation and persistence, I also rise to celebrate that it has today the City of Launceston now holds the declaration of a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy. This has been a project that many in our community have worked for over a number of years. It has seen persistence, determination and passion.
It has seen hard work and many, many hours of pledging and pitching and bringing together our community, as well as joy - joy that will be celebrated tomorrow night by many of the participants that have come together to secure this designation.
There are few cities around the world that enjoy UNESCO designations, and I understand this will now be the third in Tasmania. It is rare for a state of our size, with our population, to have such significant designations. Often, the word 'gastronomy' brings to mind ideas of excellence or eliteness or top-class restaurants, Michelin-star restaurants, but for the City of Launceston, for our community, the work that we have done to underpin and bring about this designation, it is about food security, and food access. It is about ensuring that young people and families in our community understand what it can take to come together and connect around food, to develop and grow around food, to participate in the process of planting and harvesting and cooking food.
Then it also celebrates and seeks to raise an understanding and education in what can then be done if you want to have a career in food - whether that be a career in hospitality, in service, or in tourism, whether it be a career as a chef. It underpins and supports the great work of Ferment Tasmania and what they are going to do - which, along with its designation, will be game-changing for not only Launceston and the Tamar Valley, but for the entire northern region and across the state.
We will connect with other cities across the world that also have this designation. It will bring people's focus from across the world to what we do that is really special in Launceston and Tasmania. Equally, it will share across the world some of the things we do that are unique about value-adding to our produce, supporting and understanding the great producers and farmers and people who grow and provide our great natural assets that we can celebrate and put on a plate, and share and inspire people, not only locally but across the world.
Today is a great day of celebration to recognise the 20th anniversary of bringing to life the railway workshops at the QVMAG. It is also to say to everybody who worked so hard to build a program that with this designation will mean all the great things that happen in Launceston and Northern Tasmania will be celebrated for years to come here and across the world.
November 10, 2021 - 8:49pm
Video - YouTube