17 June 2019

Construction starts on new $3.2 million Mulligans Flat learning centre

| Glynis Quinlan
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An artist’s impression of the new Mulligans Flat learning centre. Images: Supplied.

Construction has begun on a $3.2 million learning centre at Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary which will showcase the sanctuary’s conservation and restoration work, as well as provide a hub for eco-tourism, research, community engagement and education.

The new state-of-the-art centre in Throsby is expected to be open by the end of next year and will tell the stories of endangered Australian landscapes and native species such as bettongs and quolls, as well as the threatened Box-Gum Grassy Woodlands.

“It’s going to be a fantastic opportunity for people to come from all over Australia and, in fact, all over the world to see our natural habitat here in the ACT,” said ACT Environment Minister Mick Gentleman during the turning of the first sod for the centre on Monday (June 17).

The sod turning ceremony on Monday. Pictured from left to right are: Millie Sutherland-Saines (Woodlands and Wetlands Trust) holding a bettong, Alex Michael (Bank Australia), Mick Gentleman, Ian Walker (EPSDD), Denise Church (Former Chair, Zealandia Ecosanctuary), and Alison Russell-French (President, Woodland and Wetlands Trust).

“The learning centre will provide the opportunity for community groups to come in and learn about our native animals and plants but also to interact with our rangers and have a look at what we’ve been able to do here in saving some of the rarest Box-Gum Grassy Woodlands across Australia,” he said.

“The ACT retains some of the largest Box-Gum Grassy Woodland communities in Australia within the Mulligans Flat and Goorooyarroo Reserves.”

Work began in mid-2017 to triple the size of the sanctuary which attracts around 50,000 visitors a year.

Mr Gentleman said the learning centre will be a focal point for land managers and scientists across multiple organisations nationally to work together to learn about and restore local woodlands and inspire similar projects throughout Australia.

The ACT Government has contributed $1.6 million in funding to the learning centre, matching the funding pledged by the Woodlands and Wetlands Trust and Odonata.

An artist’s impression of the new learning centre close-up.

The project is expected to deliver 36 jobs during the construction period with expected flow-on employment benefits of another 120 jobs. Following construction, an addition 12 positions will also be created to manage the centre’s ongoing operations and visitor experiences.

Mr Gentleman said the learning centre will provide:

  • educational and artistic exhibitions and events to tell stories connected to the sanctuary
  • self-guided tours through the sanctuary
  • guided programs to introduce people to the sanctuary’s animals and plant life
  • programs for school groups
  • opportunities to meet friends and socialise at a cafe and multi-use community spaces
  • support for community groups involved in conservation and restoration work at the sanctuary.

For more information about the learning centre visit mulligansflat.org.au.

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