A Night at the Boilerhouse

For one night only the Boilerhouse was transformed! The details? It happened on Friday 8th November with the Vice Chancellor and Chancellor of UNE for an adults only steampunk inspired evening featuring food, drinks, music, STEAM activities, performance, history and more. Curious? Read on.


The UNE Boilerhouse is being transformed… and we can’t do it without you. It is our vision that it will be transformed into the Boilerhouse Discovery Space, a play-based learning centre, regional art and performance space, cafe and cultural destination. If you believe in growing curiosity, confidence, creativity and collaborative living; where science and languages are one in the same, and the physics of music fills the air; where we acknowledge that learning through self-directed play, trial, error and fun is our greatest gift of the moment; where the history of Australia’s oldest regional university is intertwined with its capacity for innovation, research and discovery, then we’d love your donation to help us bring this project to fruition.

The future

We have one chance to capture the historical significance, stories and potential of this structure while it is remediated, parts demolished and re-purposed to create an early childhood Discovery Space which will introduce young learners into the world of knowledge, ideas and problem solving through innovation.


The Boilerhouse will provide opportunities for our region’s children and families to access innovative, cultural and educational experiences in a fun, playful environment. UNE prides itself in being a regional university and providing educational opportunities outside of the major cities.  The UNE Boilerhouse Discovery Space will extend this reach and be a destination that encourages a love of learning from a young age. The impact of this will be realised for many years to come.

Your say

The UNE Boilerhouse is transforming into an innovative space, incorporating age-appropriate, research-led discovery experiences designed in consultation with UNE’s early childhood and science-based learning specialists and YOU! We are passionate about this project being driven by community, for community, and sustained by our regional people. You can help us to determine the look, feel, content and experiences of The Boilerhouse Discovery Space in the first phase of our community consultation by completing our online survey which will take approximately 10 minutes.


During the remediation process, the Discovery team had a remarkable opportunity to retain thousands of items from the Boilerhouse. Some of these items capture the historical significance, trigger stories and will help us develop the potential of this structure to create an early childhood Discovery Space. This space will introduce young learners into the world of knowledge, ideas and problem solving through innovation.


The Boilerhouse is being photographed during every stage of its transformation. Local Armidale photographers, Terry Cooke, Simon Scott and Beth MacRaild O’Loughlin, as well as some local photography enthusiasts, have captured the building, inside and out, for historical, artistic and record-keeping purposes. Browse through our photo gallery and immerse yourself in the Boilerhouse through the eyes of our photographers.


Remediation work on the Boilerhouse to remove contaminants from its industrial bones commenced in 2017 and was completed in April 2019. This phase of the project was fully funded while the design and build phases for the new UNE Boilerhouse Discovery Space are not. Through hard work, generous donations and Government commitment, the next phases will proceed with a scheduled completion date of 2022.

We will retain the stories of our heritage in the UNE Boilerhouse Discovery Space, and emphasise the need in the 21st century for individuals to embrace the challenge and excitement of life-long learning and innovation in order to both successfully navigate and, more importantly, improve the word they inhabit.


Join UNE Discovery Project Leader, Dr Kirsti Abbott and Vice Chancellor and CEO Professor Annabelle Duncan at the Boilerhouse on campus at UNE in Armidale NSW. The Boilerhouse Discovery Space will be focused on play-based learning and play-based experiences that cultivate curiosity, creativity, collaboration, confidence and a can-do attitude.

The past

The buildings at UNE harbour and trigger memories and stories of Australia’s first regional university, a place where knowledge and philosophy was upheld and encouraged from 1938. The industrial structures are our connection to that hopeful past, where the vision of bold and innovative leaders created a place of education that continues to serve those who seek to transform their lives. Learn more about the history of the Boilerhouse.