HASTINGS Gateway Corporation's imaginative renovation project at the eastern approach to Wauchope has provided some North Coast TAFE students with the chance to learn skills while contributing to their community.
The project revolves around a plan to renovate the old stationmaster's cottage, relocate the historic church from Timbertown and upgrade a parcel of land on Randall Street to create a visitor site of historical and cultural significance.
The newly-formed Hastings Gateway Limited group has invited students and teachers to support them on a wide range of tasks, including establishing information technology networks, railway carriage restorations, heritage building renovations, formation of a memorial garden, hospitality services and a cultural arts centre.
Students from Wauchope and Port Macquarie TAFE campuses are enthusiastic about the practical skills the project will deliver and the sense of pride from working on such an important landmark.
"We're really excited to be involved in this project as it ticks so many important boxes.
"Being able to provide local students with genuine workplace experience, whilst giving the community access to stories from the past is a rare and valuable opportunity," North Coast TAFE's leader in business and community engagement Caleb Rose said.
A replica of a historic railway refreshment room and a model railway depicting the layout of the Wauchope railway yard in its prime has also been included in future plans, along with indigenous art displays and the permanent exhibition of the Henry Kendall Fine Art Timber Collection, which features finely crafted woodwork.
Organisers hope to bring the community along with them and create a strong sense of belonging and pride in the site.
"We welcome anyone that wants to work with us in reaching a communal goal to get on board," Hastings Gateway chairman Don Neal said.
"As locals, we wanted to create a space that not only recognises Wauchope's place in Australian history, but brings the town along with it into the present.
"We're so pleased to be working with the TAFE students in bringing our dream to life."
The project will get under way towards the end of this year, in time for a fresh intake of students.