Letter: Gold Diggers’ Arms

Filed in editorletters by May 31, 2017

scone.com.au has provided us with wonderful descriptions of the 163 year old Gold Diggers’ Arms in Main Street opposite the Uniting Church.  But we also hear a stark warning about its threatened demolition.  That’s the wrong way to go.

Related story: History May Be Bulldozed.

The former Gold Diggers' Arms in Scone. Photo taken around 1900 when it was the McDonald family home. Photo courtesy of the State Library of New South Wales.

The former Gold Diggers’ Arms in Scone. Photo taken around 1900 when it was the McDonald family home. Photo courtesy of the State Library of New South Wales.

Public documents show us the main events of its early history, back to when Dumaresq owned the land.  Built in 1853, the Gold Diggers’ Arms was associated with the earliest gold diggings in these parts.  The building and its site archaeology may possibly justify a State Heritage listing, not just a local one.

It is clear that modern changes on its outer shell are beside the point.  Its original core is intact and beautiful.  It is well placed in town for residents, tourists, and visitors to appreciate and enjoy that.

The lovely shape of the Gold Diggers’ Arms roof against the mountain range, viewed from Upper Kingdon Street across the Church corner, is one of the jewels of Scone’s western prospect.

Residential occupation of No.77 holds together the surrounding housing community in Main Street. It looks across to the child care centre too, keeping the street alive and under watchful eyes since the invasion of two metal sheds which took out a house and businesses in recent years.

The people in the dwellings have been asked to leave.   Where will each of them go, if their little community is scattered?  Would they find contentment, after McCallum Inglis buys their comfortable, central homes, only to demolish them for a rural storage shed, in the centre of town?

The softening trees, and the 1980’s, well built attached homes next to the Arms are also pleasing.  The right thing is for people to keep living in these dwellings. They would continue care taking and paying rent to a caring landlord who would in time, with Heritage Grant funding, reveal the true glories of the old Arms building for ongoing Community use.

What better landlord than our own Upper Hunter Shire Council; and what better home than the historic Gold Diggers’ Arms, for an extension of Scone’s Tourist Information Centre?

Bev Atkinson
Resident of Scone

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