Dunkeld Visitor Information Centre Celebrates 20th Year since opening its doors
Staff and volunteers of the Dunkeld Visitor Information Centre recently celebrated the 20th anniversary since first opening its doors. This significant milestone was a remarkable achievement showing substantial support for visitor services.
The Dunkeld Visitor Information Centre opened on September 2nd 1994, just prior to Shire amalgamation from Dundas Shire to what is now known as the Southern Grampians Shire Council. The Right Honorable Patrick McNamara, Deputy Premier and Minister for Tourism officially opened the Centre in the presence of Councillor Eda Ritchie, Mt Rouse Shire President.
In the ensuing 20 years since opening, the Centre has achieved numerous highpoints including having nearly 300,000 visitors through its doors, with approximately 28% of those travelling to the region from overseas.
Drawing on the strength of some 180 volunteers who have given a combined 50,000 hours of volunteer time, roughly equating to $ 1.5 million worth of volunteer work, the anniversary celebrations were an opportunity to thank them for their tireless efforts.
Tourism Research Australia indicates that information that the visitor gains from a Visitor Information Centre has been rated as more trustworthy, accurate and credible when compared to information from any other source, including websites. Four in five visitors to a Visitor Information Centre participate in additional activities and three in five inject more money into the local economy.
The celebrations were very timely at they coincided with Victorian Tourism Week.
Guest speakers included:
Mr Brian Mathews, current Chair of the Dunkeld Tourism Association has been a volunteer since 2000. Brian gave a brief outline of the history of the Dunkeld Visitor Information Centre.
Mrs Corinne Smith, a current committee member and volunteer for the past 10 years shared one of her poetic compositions which was enjoyed by all.
Ms Eda Ritchie, former Councillor and Mt Rouse Shire President when the Centre was opened on the 2nd Sept 1994 shared her recollections of the challenges the Mt Rouse Shire Council faced in establishing a “tourist office” in the heart of the traditionally renowned wool producing region and was pleased to be part of the anniversary celebrations.
Mrs Angela Stark and her husband John were owners of the Southern Grampians Log Cabins, perhaps Mt Rouse’s only full time tourism business of the time. Angela was a true tourism champion and worked tirelessly to raise the Dunkeld and Mt Rouse profile throughout Victoria and South Australia. Angela still holds Dunkeld close to her heart and shared many fantastic memories.
Pictured above: (Left to Right) Eda Williamson, Dunkeld Tourism Operator and current volunteer; Christina Hindhaugh, Tourism Ambassador and founder of Glenelg River Rosemary Farm; and Eda Ritchie, former Mount Rouse Shire President, who presided over the Anniversary Celebrations.