Pentridge 2017 Year in Review
With 2017 drawing to a close and the new year upon us, we felt it was the ideal opportunity to cast an eye back on all we’ve accomplished as we work to transform Pentridge and open it up with renewed vibrancy to the people of Coburg and the wider Melbourne community.
And what rewarding work it’s been! We’ve explored The Burra Charter, which has informed the best practice approach to heritage restoration by JBM Group and future adaptive reuse at Pentridge. We’ve spoken with JBM Group construction manager Bryce Barker about the particularities of working to restore key aspects of the site such as the Guard Towers and A Division roof.
Then, in April, we launched Pentridge Festival 2017, and despite the unfortunate turn of weather that led to its premature cancellation, hundreds of people nonetheless turned out before the rain rolled in, enjoying the musical acts and stalls and reporting back as having had an excellent time.
Indeed, we’ve covered a host of creative ventures that have utilised the distinctive architecture and spaces of Pentridge, including independent music makers and home grown operas, and we’ve shared the vision of the Air Apartments and their role in transforming the Pentridge precinct into a thriving creative, cultural and community hub.
We’ve also gone in depth describing the rigorous approach towards Heritage Interpretation guiding Pentridge, prepared by Sue Hodges of SHP, that will help communicate the cultural legacy of the site and its complex past to new generations of visitors to the site; and went deeper still into JBM Group’s completion of Stage 1 restorations, including their painstaking work to bring the Rock Breaking Yards of H Division back from near ruin.
Tours of Pentridge once more drew the crowds, as people flocked to explore the darker corners of Coburg’s history in the safe hands of our experienced guides and storytellers.
Again on the community front, we’ve been thrilled to see the efforts of Andrew Ogbourne bear fruit with the creation of the Pentridge Community Garden, which saw its official opening by MP Lizzie Blandthorn in September.
And we’ve been energised by the efforts of a new generation of creative designers from Melbourne Polytechnic, who under the guidance of teacher and co-ordinator Linda Bistricic presented a host of dazzling and inspirational possibilities for A Division’s proposed Arts Precinct.
Finally, to round out the year, we presented a massive two-part interview with Pentridge’s long-time site managers examining their day to day duties and their personal hopes for this most incredible part of Melbourne’s story, before announcing that all proceeds from the recent sell-out encore presentation by criminologist Michelle Noon is to be donated to Coburg High School to support a new scholarship for a disadvantaged student in 2018.
To say it’s been a rich and exciting year then would be something of an understatement, but it’s really just the start of bigger things to come. Thank you Coburg for all the support you’ve shown us, and thank you to our Residents Community Group for all your valuable contributions. To all, have a safe and joyous holiday season full of cheer.
As the new year drawns close, keep an eye out for Serenading Adela at Pentridge on January 7. It’s a fantastic new street opera telling the story of Adela Pankhurst, locked up in Pentridge for her energetic anti-war campaigning, sure to be worth your interest.
And as ever, stay tuned for more fantastic announcements to follow, such as the proposed retail complex and new Palace Cinemas, as the rebirth of Pentridge continues in earnest!