“Key” achievement for Slim Dusty Centre
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“Key” achievement for Slim Dusty Centre

“Key” achievement for Slim Dusty Centre

Friday 18th November was a proud day for The Slim Dusty Foundation as it took yet another major step closer to the highly anticipated opening of The Slim Dusty Centre.

The Hon. Simon Crean MP, Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government; Minister for the Arts, made a special trip to Slim’s hometown of Kempsey to officially handover the ceremonial, handcrafted Nulla Nulla red cedar key of the newly completed building to Slim’s wife and Foundation Chairperson Joy McKean OAM.

In lieu of the cutting of the ribbon to celebrate the Handover, Minister Crean happily “strummed the first chord” of the red cedar Maton, which was modelled on Slim’s own guitar and recently played on tour by fellow Australian Keith Urban. Ensuring the look was complete, Akubra’s Roy Wilkinson presented the Minister with a ‘Cattleman Sand’ Akubra hat – another of Kempsey’s icons.

The completion of the Slim Dusty Centre building was largely funded under the Australian Government’s Better Regions Program.

Kempsey’s Slim Dusty Centre will house Slim and Joy’s vast collection of memorabilia from their 50 years of touring around Australia. The Centre will also be the major facility for the region in hosting community events and major touring exhibitions.

As the only major all-weather facility in the region the Slim Dusty Centre has long been anticipated as an opportunity to generate a major economic boost to the Mid North Coast Tourism Industry.

Slim’s strong affinity with the indigenous people of Australia was reflected in the opening ceremony with Colleen Campbell of the Dunghutti People, the traditional custodians of the land, greeting the dignitaries with a traditional Welcome to Country.

This occasion was not only an acknowledgement of the Foundation’s achievements but it was also a tribute to what can be achieved when a regional community has a unified goal.

One of the guests on the day Cr Liz Campbell, the new Mayor of Kempsey Shire said “the completion of the building of the Slim Dusty Centre is significantly important to the whole of the Kempsey Shire, and also to the Mid North Coast Region as a unique Australian Cultural Centre… to the Foundation Board and the Foundation CEO Kathryn Yarnold… the passion and belief that has gone into this project is remarkable.”

So it is with pride and appreciation that the Slim Dusty Foundation were honoured with the attendance of not only Minister Crean and members of the Slim Dusty Family but also Independent MP Rob Oakeshott, CMAA President Joan Douglas, Phil Lahey/Lahey Constructions, Project Director John Kent, Joel de Carle/Schreiber Hamilton Architects, Jason Becker/Tyrrells Wines, Roy Wilkinson/Akubra, John Sheppard/Golden Chain Australia and other Foundation Donors & supporters.

As the Mayor said at the ceremony… “thank you all for the vision of what we see here today.”

The Slim Dusty Foundation team will now continue to work toward the final stage… exhibition fit out, with an opening date anticipated to be announced in 2012.

For further information contact Kathryn Yarnold at kathryn.yarnold@slimdustycentre.com.au or Telephone (02) 65 62 6533