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December 1, 2023

Casino Drill Hall Precinct upgrade project completed

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Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan and Richmond Valley Council Mayor Robert Mustow at the unveiling of the granite monument honouring Diggers. Photo supplied.

The Casino Drill Hall Precinct has been completed with the unveiling of the final project, a granite monument honouring Diggers as the centrepiece.

The final stage of the upgrade project was officially opened on Friday by Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan.

The $5.4 million redevelopment was made possible by the Australian Government’s Building Better Regions Fund and Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Fund, where Council was successful in obtaining $2.7 million for the first stage, followed by $885,000 to build a memorial walk and a further $405,000 for much-needed upgrades at Coronation Park.

The project also received $252,000 from the NSW Government’s ClubGRANTS scheme, which helped fund the construction of the Casino Visitor Information Centre, and a $1.2 million contribution from Richmond Valley Council.

Opened in 2019, the first stage included the restoration and expansion of the Drill Hall proper, now home to the Visitor Information Centre and the Northern Rivers Military Museum, creating an important site for community events with the nearby amphitheatre, and added much-needed parking and landscaping.

A Memorial walk, reflection pool and granite monument

The new precinct. Photo supplied.

This final stage has completed the project by adding the memorial walk, reflection pool and beautiful granite monument, which will stand alone as a major feature of the site, while also integrating the Drill Hall with the newly completed Coronation Park.

The unique poppy-themed playground at Coronation Park is complemented by a shaded picnic and BBQ area, new landscaping, boardwalk and a viewing platform set above the banks of the Richmond River.

In developing a theme for the proposed playground, the master plan took into consideration the history and use of the surrounding site, hence the use of the poppy, which is a powerful symbol of war remembrance.

The poppy-themed playground is the first of its kind, having been designed especially for this site and its important links to our Anzac history.

Drill Hall’s future in doubt

The 114-year-old Drill Hall’s future was placed in doubt when the Department of Defence listed the site for auction in 2014, causing angst in the community.

Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan said the renewed space was a boon for Casino and the Richmond Valley, providing both an attractive destination for passing travellers, and a unique hub for community events.

Richmond Valley Council Mayor Robert Mustow said it was a moment of great pride for him to be part of the official opening, saying the revitalised site was something the whole community could be proud of.

A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

Cr Mustow said Council recognised it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a lasting community asset a stone’s throw from the beautiful Richmond River.

He said the community could be very proud of what had been achieved.

‘We faced many challenges with this project over the past year because of the impacts of the COVID pandemic and persistent wet weather but it is wonderful to be here today to see the end result – a true community asset for residents and visitors to enjoy all year round.’

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  1. Lest we forget, but we do. Supporting pointless conflicts is at an all time high. If only they had carved into those stones ‘All wars are bankers wars, despite what they tell you’

  2. At last the project is complete, great news – well done everyone !
    This is also likely to be a tourist attraction for the town in the future.
    Congrats !!

  3. On this Christian, we agree!
    It is heartening to see NSW government has $ 10 Million to waste on this idiotic propaganda campaign to enlist the gullible , as were the Diggers, who all returned swearing, to never let the government do this to future generations , or “Lest We Forget”.
    The RSL have spent seventy years trying to corrupt the lessons so hard won by the real ‘Diggers’ not the war-criminals of Vietnam and later.
    Cheers, G”)

    • Ken, please do re-read the article.
      Actually your ‘$10M’ were combined grants for a multitude of worthy projects in Casino.
      As someone formerly involved in the management of this formerly Commonwealth property I sincerely hope these projects give Casino a much needed fillip, after some very difficult times over the last 3 years.

  4. Are the names of those who died etched into the granite?
    We do seem to spend an extraordinary sum of money commemorating lost wars.
    Hopefully the museum is a timely reminder of the horrors of war rather than a glorification of same.


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