Affectionately known as the Rectangular Donut, the Murgon Cultural Centre is an amazing manifestation of a strong community’s desire to showcase something. Now called “55 Million Years Ago”, it was initially created to celebrate the unique nature of fossils that are being discovered in the district.
The Murgon Creative Country Association (MCCA) was formed by locals in early 2018, and over an extensive series of meetings and funding applications, the resultant brief for a building emerged. The ultimate builder, a member of MCCA, engaged us from afar, due to our knowledge of Bondor products, which had already been selected as a viable construction method, due to their combination of structural capacity, finish and inherent insulation.
MCCA had cleverly ascertained that the donut shape, laid out in a certain way, would suit the required spaces. Those principal spaces are an art gallery, the feature fossil museum, community room, fossil shop, reception & gift shop, plus the courtyard. There are service regions for toilets, store and lunch room. They had already determined that no windows could be placed on the perimeter for security reasons, with light coming from the courtyard. An early decision was that a mural would be commissioned for the somewhat blank long front elevation, which has emerged as a real feature.
Our role was to further design the building to suit a ‘real’ result. This included many things, like properly siting it, figuring out a roof (no easy task for a donut with roof panels), deducing final sizing to use Bondor wall & roof panels, correct & large enough layouts for the toilets, structural implications, accessibility, egress distances, hydraulics, and coordination with others. We also of course documented this onto working drawings.
The final cost has approached $3m, with this roughly evenly split between the building and finishes along with its extensive museum fitout. All of this through grants! For a 1000 sqm building & courtyard, this is a very cost effective development.
The result is a great addition to a vibrant community. The opening on 2nd October 2023 was well attended, with lovely acknowledgment of everyone’s efforts, including us. In the first four months, around 1000 paying visitors went through it, with almost no promotion. In winter, being at the end of the South Burnett rail trail, it will be a destination for those tourists.
Why are the fossils in Murgon, so important? Visit this Australian Museum page for a good answer.
The building has been featured on Bondor’s website.
LD Design – Peter & Kaylene
LD Documentation – Kaylene
Structural Engineer – HR Design Consulting Engineers
Electrical & AC Engineer – RPG Consulting Engineers
Certifier – JDBA Certifiers
Builder – Sellwood Constructions, Jim Adcock
Supplier of Bondor panels – Total Building Solutions
Photos – Denise Keelan Photography