Locals drive key Collie project

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
Collie-Preston MLA Mick Murray has a final look at the heritage-listed Collie Roundhouse before its restoration.
Camera IconCollie-Preston MLA Mick Murray has a final look at the heritage-listed Collie Roundhouse before its restoration. Credit: Supplied / South Western Times

A Collie business will play a major role in the restoration and transformation of one of the town’s most unique landmarks into a thriving tourist destination.

HRE Consulting has been awarded the contract to manage the conservation work on the heritage-listed Collie Roundhouse.

The State’s only remaining in situ railway roundhouse, the structure will be transformed under a nearly $1 million plan.

HRE Consulting is a husband and wife team of Julie and Karl Hillier with more than 50 years experience in project management, construction, human resources and organisational development.

Principle consultant Julie Hillier told the South Western Times the project was a “huge” opportunity to showcase and celebrate Collie’s rich working heritage.

“It’s great just to be involved in such an iconic project and to be able to obviously use our combined skills to really drive this phase of the project,” Mrs Hillier said.

“Karl will lead the technical components and I’ll take the lead on the community engagement and stakeholder engagement which is critical.

“I think it’s really unique and it’s really exciting for Collie.

“And also obviously to preserve and conserve as much of the original parts of the roundhouse and really make it a big icon feature that can really educate but also attract tourists as well.”

The work will prepare the site for future heritage, tourism and commercial development.

The roundhouse was constructed in the 1950s to house 14 steam locomotives within the building, along with a turntable pit and turntable, among remaining infrastructure that serve as a reminder of the role rail played in the emergence of Collie as source of coal.

Collie-Preston MLA Mick Murray said the town was home to many capable businesses and skilled workers and he was “delighted” the contract had gone to a local firm.

“I look forward to seeing more subcontractors and suppliers engaged throughout this exciting project,” Mr Murray said.

Mrs Hillier said initial work would involve engaging with stakeholders and assessing initial scopes of work before putting out expressions of interest.

“We’re genuinely excited about the opportunity for community engagement in this and the opportunity for local content to drive a pretty unique project,” she said.

“It’s a huge opportunity to drive local content and we’ve got a lot of talent and diversity of skills in Collie and surrounds.

“It’s a real opportunity to engage locally and also to get people really excited about this as well.

“For a local company to work on a key project like this ... it’s an opportunity to tap into that diversity of skills and talent that we have in abundance.”

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