Guest speaker
Today guest speaker, Luke Grealy, was introduced by John Gray whose wife Norma had worked with Luke Grealy at the Wagga Cty Council many years ago.  Luke left the Council entering private enterprise in the Event Hire business but retired from that industry and returned to the Council as Manager of The Museum of the Riverina.
The museum is based at Willans Hill and is the process of redevelopment.  Part of the large redevelopment will be housing the winning portraits of the “Bald Archey’s” donated to the museum by the Late Peter Batey OAM. This is a fantastic opportunity for the museum and the Wagga City Council has committed to undertaking the annual awards.
Part of the new premises required the packing up, cataloguing and moving some very sensitive objects to temporary locations, some at the CSU, some at Council depots and some at Riverina Water.  The old building was insufficient to house the large number of acquisitions over the years. Some of the new items have been donated to the Museum have come from the Wagga Base Hospital including historical baby scales, a large number of items from Eilish Kendell relating the history of Kendell Airlines and prior to that being Premier Airlines.
The redevelopment is being funded by Government grants totalling $7.4M and the new area will have eight new galleries with the old Museum being storage.
At present there are 25000 visitors to the Botanic Gardens each year but only a small number venture to the museum.  Luke wants that to change after the redevelopment as there will be a wonderful display of Wagga and District history.  In the receipt of new donations to the new museum, they attempt to build the history of the particular items to ensure that future will have an understanding of the display and the story.
The recent completion of the book Huthwaites, The Friendly Store was very successful and contained a detailed history of retailing in Wagga Wagga.

Luke was thanked by our current Mayor, Greg Conkey, who is retiring from Council at the next Council elections. Greg was very upbeat about the new museum and commented that we lucky to have someone of the quality of Luke in the position of Museum manager