Barb McMillan, Karen Sullivan, Andrea Killen, Amber Stewart from Dirranbandi Progress Association at the River Rail precinct.
Barb McMillan, Karen Sullivan, Andrea Killen, Amber Stewart from Dirranbandi Progress Association at the River Rail precinct. Ellen Ransley

Dirran precinct plans chugging along

ELEVEN years after the idea was floated, the Dirranbandi Arts Council are steps closer to making their dreams of a River and Rail Precinct a reality.

When the last train left Dirranbandi in 2008, Pam Crothers led the charge, starting a conversation with the Balonne Shire Council and Queensland Rail to maintain the buildings that pre-existed in the rail precinct with the plan to eventually transform the area into a creative hub.

"Council secured a lease on our behalf to secure the land,” Ms Crothers said.

In the years since, the Arts Council, alongside various other community organisations, have restored buildings, begun to display history and at present are short-listed for a grant to complete the precinct with a children's playground and decking.

"Over the past decade or so, we have celebrated a number of anniversaries in town, the 100th year of Dirranbandi rail, 100 years of the local police, and 50 years of the high school,” Ms Crothers said.

"So we were able to start to collect history and display it. But we wanted to make it more permanent, so we've received grants to preserve it on storyboards, and that's now displayed in the old parcels office.”

"Dirranbandi is such a unique part of the shire, and if you want to travel north or south on the eastern seaboard you have to go through Dirranbandi.

"Tourists have to drive up our main street, so we have this extraordinary captive audience.”

"Our main street itself is quite special, we have shops on one side and the railways precinct on the other, so when hey closed that service there was just nothing on that side of the street, which was terrible, and we decided we really needed to do something about it. People love that area.”

Joining forces with the Dirranbandi Progress Association, the next stage is to install decking and a children's playground.

"We have been short- listed for the Community Benefit Fund grants,” Ms Crothers said. "If successful, that will make the project 80 per cent done in 12 months.”


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