Here to stay
Thursday, 26th May, 2016
By By Erica Visser
It may have been too cash-strapped to acquire the $1.3 million Milton Lavers collection, but Council will ensure the city retains the remaining tiny fraction.
Councillors last night voted to approve a donation of $5,670 to fill the remainder owed by an action groups responsible for securing nine minerals from the extensive collection.
The group had managed to raise $15,000 to secure the minerals in late 2014, but went over budget and risked having to return some of the loaned rocks without a donation by Council.
Following last night’s decision, the minerals will now remain on display at the Albert Kersten Mining and Minerals Museum (GeoCentre) under public ownership.
Councillor Darriea Turley said that while it was a shame Council had been unable to afford the full collection - which was broken up between companies and private collectors - it was important to retain the nine minerals that represented Broken Hill.
“This is an incredible collection and this is actually a community collection,” she said.
Meanwhile, General Manager James Roncon insisted there was no basis for concerns raised by Clr Peter Black that some minerals housed at the GeoCentre may be moved to other parts of the city.
Clr Black claimed there was a “fear in the community that the City Council was going to interfere with the Geocentre’s contents.”
The Labor stalwart referred to supposed plans to display cases featuring the minerals at both the Civic Centre, which was currently undergoing a major overhaul, and in the basement of Council’s administration centre alongside the soon-to-be-relocated archives.
Clr Black said a “consultant roaming the GeoCentre” querying the availability of displayed minerals had prompted the concerns.
“There are no minerals to spare,” he insisted during a lengthy rant, “What we have is virtually out there on display.”
General Manager James Roncon took the concern on notice, but later told local media there were no current proposals to move any of the existing mineral displays.
Mr Roncon was also unaware of any community concern over the matter, a statement backed up by Clr Black’s Labor colleague, Clr Turley.
“I think the GeoCentre is our centre, it’s the place we go to see minerals and I imagine that Clr Black may be concerned that we’re going to disperse it across the area,’” Clr Turley said.
“Councillors haven’t discussed that at all. I’m sure it’s like the art gallery - there is a place for your mineral collection.
“...Pop ups (don’t) work, people come to see the whole collection - they don’t come to see a group of rocks sitting together.”