CITY of Ballarat Council has acknowledged the efforts of the board and staff of the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka (M.A.D.E) in making its decision to ensure the cost-effective operation of the Eureka Centre.
Council will retain the focus of the centre on telling the Eureka story and maintaining the enduring link to the identity of Ballarat.
The decision comes after lengthy consideration of a feasibility study prepared for Council on the future of the museum which Council currently subsidises by $1 million each year.
Mayor Cr Samantha McIntosh said Council would assume responsibility for the centre and look to find efficiencies in order to reduce its funding of the centre over coming years.
“Council is very pleased with its decision on M.A.D.E, and first and foremost thanks the Board and CEO, Rebecca Macfarling, for their hard work and dedication to M.A.D.E over its years of operation,” Cr McIntosh said.
Council will work with the M.A.D.E board to wind up the corporate operations of M.A.D.E, and begin work to reinvigorate the centre for community use, including continued public access to the Eureka Flag, and development of the current library facilities, café, satellite visitor service, and theatrette.
“Throughout the process of considering the future of M.A.D.E, we heard loud and clear from the community that they want the Eureka story to live on in Ballarat and Council is entirely committed to ensuring this happens,” Cr McIntosh said.
“Council will work with stakeholders to investigate options for fundraising for the centre including state and federal funding, and private investment.” Cr McIntosh said Council would create a consultative committee to provide advice on the future direction of the centre and how the Ballarat community wants to see the story of Eureka told in years to come.
Acting Chair, Maha Krishnapillai said of the announcement, “The City of Ballarat has made a decision which will essentially close MADE. Over the last five years, MADE’s board and staff have been loyal custodians of the Eureka history and the Flag. We have successfully shared the Eureka story and the story of Australian democracy with over 262,000 people in that time. We have managed a well-run organisation which has achieved annual financial surpluses and retained the most talented museum staff in Victoria. We now pass the custodianship of the Eureka Legacy to the Council and hope that they are able to create something which makes the Ballarat community proud.” “I would like to pay tribute to the dozens of staff and board directors who, over the last five years, have worked tirelessly to create the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka. It is not a simple task to create a new cultural organisation from scratch, and I am immensely proud of what the team has achieved. We have reached some significant cultural milestones in a short time and built deep and lasting partnerships with the Ballarat community. I hope the next iteration of the Eureka museum builds on MADE’s legacy,” said CEO, Rebecca MacFarling MADE staff and CEO will work closely with Council staff and other stakeholders to ensure a smooth transition to the new management model.