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Historic walk project wins award


Zoe Satherley
1 December 2008
Southern Cross University and its 20 partners in The Wilson’s River Experience Walk (WREW) historical project, based along the riverfront in Lismore, have been rewarded with a Federal Government award.

The group received an honourable mention at last month’s 2008 B-HERT (Business-Higher Education Round Table) Awards for Outstanding Achievement.

“The exciting thing about engaged activity of this kind is that it brings a diverse array of people together who are working on a project for the betterment of their community,” said Jan Strom, acting head of the Office of Regional Engagement.

“The big bonus for Southern Cross students is that the WREW has given them a chance to integrate their academic learning with ‘real-life’ experience.”

University partner members in the project include Gnibi College of Indigenous Australian Peoples, the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management, the Australian Regional Tourism Research Centre and the Office of Regional Engagement.

Other partners in the ongoing collaboration are Lismore City Council’s Economic Development Unit and their Parks and Gardens department. The Riverbank Redevelopment Steering Committee is also involved.

There has also been significant involvement from the Aboriginal community through the Widjabal Elders, as well as the Indigenous Heritage Program of the Federal Government’s Department of Environment and Water Resources, and Indigenous liaison staff at Goonellabah Public School and Lismore High School. TAFE and the NSW Dept of Education and Training have also participated.

Specialist community groups played an important role with Wilson’s River Landcare, Richmond River Historical Society, an Independent Historic Reference Group, and the Lismore SES making valuable contributions. From a business perspective, Armsign Pty Ltd, and various tourism operators also contributed.

The project emerged out of a Memorandum of Understanding between the University and the Council, and seeks to build mutual benefits for all collaborative partners and be of lasting benefit for the broader community.

“As a regional university, SCU has been able to dedicate resources to research, design and implement a significant element of a major long-term infrastructure project,” said Ms Strom. “The process and the product have become an exemplar of good engagement practice and the B-HERT award acknowledges this.

“The Wilson’s River Experience Walk provides an opportunity for staff, students, the business sector and the wider community to co-operate in delivering world class interpretative heritage signage and community engagement in public space in the city of Lismore.”

Photo: Jan Strom is presented with the award by David Hind, Business-Higher Education Round Table Awards president.