National Trust (NSW) CEO Debbie Mills, left Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall, Saumarez Homestead property manager Les Davis, Armidale Regional Council Mayor Simon Murray and Deputy Premier John Barilaro all smiles after the funding announcement today at Saumarez Homestead.
Monday, 30 April 2018
State Government support ensures unprecedented upgrade can proceed
NORTHERN Tablelands MP and Tourism Minister Adam Marshall, along with Deputy Premier John Barilaro, have today announced a $1.77 million grant from the NSW Government to fund a large upgrade of the region’s iconic Saumarez Homestead heritage property, to increase the numbers of tourists visiting and staying in the Armidale area.
The pair were joined at at the unique National Heritage Trust homestead for the announcement by Mayor Simon Murray and Councillors, property manager Les Davis and advisory committee volunteers and National Trust CEO Debbie Mills.
Mr Marshall said the government contribution would be matched with $730,000 from Armidale Regional Council and $200,000 from the National Trust, allowing the $2.7 million project to get underway immediately.
The unprecedented improvement works will see 10 heritage style cabins built onsite, which will sleep up to 45 guests behind the existing farm buildings, as well as an additional accommodation space built near the old coach house.
Visitors will also be able to enjoy local produce in a newly renovated restaurant, which will be doubled in size to seat over 90 people.
The development is expected to attract up to 185 visitors a day to Saumarez Homestead, tripling the current yearly visitation from 10,000 to 30,000 people a year.
“This is the most exciting tourism project our region has seen in decades,” an thrilled Mr Marshall said.
“The Saumarez Homestead is synonymous with Armidale and this project will offer something truly unique to regional visitors,” Mr Marshall said.
“The expansion of Saumarez Homestead is expected to create 16 new jobs and inject in an additional $6.5 million tourist dollars into the Armidale region.
“This project has the potential to turn this unique National Trust property into a state and nationally-significant tourist attraction.
“The unique ability to stay onsite, just a stones’ throw from this beautiful homestead and with easy access to the Armidale Regional Airport will help attract significant functions like weddings and conferences.
“Proposed upgrades to the current restaurant, internal roads and visitor information areas will also ensure that daytime visitors will have the best experience possible at Saumarez.”
Saumarez Homestead property manager Les Davis said he had tour companies from Sydney “at the ready” to ferry hundreds of visitors to Armidale, when the work was completed.
“Last year we received just over 10,000 visitors, all of whom were just day visitors,” Mr Davies said.
“The hope is to have people spend two to three nights, to experience the place more fully and to go from $15-20 per visitor to up to $100 spend per visitor.”
Armidale Regional Council Mayor Simon Murray said today’s announcement was fantastic news for one of the most iconic attractions in the region.
“This is another significant and very welcome boost for our region,” Cr Murray said.
“Saumarez Homestead is a unique piece of living history and the improvements being funded by this grant will enable the property to live up to its tremendous potential to attract visitors to our area.
“It will equip the homestead with quality accommodation to match the astonishing beauty and wonderful historic artefacts, and encourage more people to immerse themselves in the history of this region.
“Saumarez Homestead, established in the late 1880s, was pivotal in the establishment of Armidale in its current location and the homestead’s faithful depiction of rural life in the 19th and 20th centuries makes it an invaluable piece of Australian history.”
The funding was secured through the NSW Government’s $300 million Regional Growth – Environment and Tourism Fund and is one of two successful projects in the Northern Tablelands, following the recent announcement of $2 million for Bingara.