Published: 14 Apr 2022
When it was built in 1942, no-one in Murtoa would have thought their emergency grain shed would become a heritage-listed tourist attraction.
Originally built to support the region’s wheat industry, the Murtoa Stick Shed was saved from demolition by the community in 1989. Since 2016, it has been open to the public.
Today it’s operated by a proud group of local staff and volunteers from the Murtoa Lions Club. Now known as the Cathedral of the Wimmera, it welcomes around 80 visitors a day.
Constructed of 560 unmilled timber poles, the shed stretches more than 250 metres long, 60 metres wide and 20 metres high. It makes a truly unique wedding venue and hosts a range of long dinners, exhibitions and concerts.
Visiting the iconic building is set to become an even better experience, thanks to $350,000 investment from the Victorian Government’s Regional Tourism Infrastructure Fund – Stimulus Round.
Delivered in partnership with the Yarriambiack Shire Council and the Murtoa Stick Shed Committee, the funds will upgrade the Shed’s visitor information centre, update amenities and improve accessibility.
The Shed is clearly a source of pride for the town’s 900-strong community and there is a buzz of excitement about the upgrade.
Stick Shed Committee of Management Secretary David Grigg said the designs for the upgrade have been finalised and will soon be going out to tender. It is hoped the upgrade will be completed in late 2022.
“The upgrade will improve the size of the reception area, improve the display area and access to the building. There will also be a covered meeting place to provide a staging point for tours and 24/7 access to toilets including new disabled toilets.”
“The community is very supportive of the whole concept,” David said.
“Following its heritage listing in 1989, there was concern in the farming community about the site not being used. A local group lobbied to keep the structure as part of our region’s heritage, despite being deemed ‘contrary to economic progress’ in bulk grain management.
“After sitting empty for decades, a Committee of Management was appointed in 2016 and since we’ve opened it up, the pride in the town is incredible.”
“We’ve got people breaking their necks to get into the place [once complete] and have even had an inspection by representatives of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra – the shed’s acoustics are brilliant. The opportunities for events are pretty broad,” he added.
The Murtoa Stick Shed upgrade will be completed by late 2022 and links directly to the Victorian Government’s investment in the Wimmera Mallee Silo Art Trail, supporting the local economy by boosting visitors to the region.