The naked Boilerhouse

– written by Dr Kirsti Abbott

The UNE Boilerhouse remediation and demolition work is finished, and the structure now stands stark and steely waiting to be transformed. Coffs Harbour Demolitions completed the final stages of the clean-up on the 18th of April 2019 leaving the site clean as a whistle, and ready to become a Children’s Discovery Space and STEAMpunk destination.

The remediation work has been extensive and meticulous. All contaminants, including the asbestos sheeting that covered the entire building, have been removed.  The boilers and furnaces, as well as the coal ash that was still inside when it was closed in 1999, have been disposed.  Every internal piece of the building that was removed with the utmost care had to be decontaminated before being taken off site or retained for incorporation into art works and the final architectural design of the Boilerhouse itself.  If you remember the movie E.T. and the white suits the scientists wore when the house was quarantined, then you’ll have an idea of the type of clean-up that took place in the Boilerhouse.

The structure will be lit up at night for security and aesthetics, and a clean site for use. Little Fish Entertainment has already been a part of our journey, shooting an amazing short dance film during a cold autumnal evening. Keep an eye and ear out for events and activities that will be held in the naked Boilerhouse in 2019.

The next stage of the project is to raise crucial funds for the design and construction of the new space.  We would love to work with philanthropists, businesses, donor organisations, members of the community, families and individuals to help us realise this dream.  It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring to life in the New England region a play based education space and iconic destination. Help tell our stories and give the community a place to ‘be’ with art, science, exhibitions, performance space, café and shop, and a new all-day, all-weather space for birthday parties, workshops, meetings and more.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to be a part of Armidale’s history.