A ceremonial silver trowel gifted to a Murwillumbah mayor in 1924 has been handed over by his descendants to the Tweed’s new mayor to mark several milestones in the shire’s history.
The late Arthur E Budd was mayor alderman of the then shire 91 years ago when he laid the foundation stone of the new council chambers in Murwillumbah, and the trowel is engraved to mark that occasion.
The trowel was donated to the Tweed Regional Museum by Wally and Dorothy Budd on behalf of the Budd family, and was presented to Tweed mayor Katie Milne by Peter Budd yesterday.
The presentation marked milestones for a number of civic buildings in the Tweed.
The silver ceremonial trowel is engraved ‘Presented to Alderman Arthur E Budd (Mayor) on the occasion of his laying the foundation stone of the new Council Chambers Murwillumbah on 17th September 1924’.
The Council Chambers referred to in the inscription is now the NSW Government Offices at the corner of Main Street and Queensland Road in Murwillumbah.
This month also signifies 100 years since the original Shire Hall, which is now home to Tweed Regional Museum on Queensland Road, held its first council meeting.
Peter Budd said yesterday that ‘Wally and I are cousins, so mayor Arthur Budd is our common paternal grandfather’.
‘He was a truly remarkable man, largely self-educated but with extraordinary common sense, initiative, vision and energy, qualities that brought success in extremely diverse fields; timber getter to state parliament and many careers in between,’ he said.
Cr Milne, said the trowel ‘symbolises the laying of the foundation of the second council building and also symbolises the foundation of what council means for the community’.
‘Council is the level of government closest to the local community and has an important role in reflecting and advocating for the community’s values and leading the community in improving our civil society,’ Cr Milne said.
Tweed Regional Museum director Judy Kean said she was delighted when Mrs Budd offered to donate the trowel.
‘The offer coincided with a significant anniversary of another civic building, the original 1915 Shire Hall, which is now home to Tweed Regional Museum,’ Ms Kean said.
‘This month marks 100 years since the building hosted its first Council meeting, so these two buildings mark important phases in the civic life of the Tweed.
‘A lot of research has been done on the current museum building, built as the Shire Hall in July 1915, but the ceremonial trowel related to the second local government building is certainly the most important item to come to light.
‘When we started looking for details of the opening of the current Museum building, we wondered why it was a relatively low-key occasion. An article in the Tweed Daily News in November 1915 revealed why.’
Ms Kean said the article suggested the money that would have otherwise been spent on celebrations was redirected toward ‘relieving the discomforts and hardships of our lads at the front’ and that there was a ‘need of exercising the strictest economy’.
‘In the article, shire president Brasnett (of the time) congratulated the ratepayers, remarking that the building was of a substantial character and would long be an architectural adornment of the town,’ she said.
‘One hundred years later, following refurbishment in 2014 to something of its original glory, the Hall continues to serve the Shire as Tweed Regional Museum.’