AUSTRALIA’S latest shrine to the nation’s working dog the Kelpie will be opened at Casterton this weekend.
After more than a decade of campaigning, the hard work and determination of the Casterton community will come to fruition with the official opening of the $1.5 million Australian Kelpie Centre.
The $1.5 million building will be officially opened at the 2018 Australian Kelpie Muster festivities on June 9 by Member for Wannon Dan Tehan, who secured more than $650,000 of Federal funding to realise the project.
The Henty Street facility, situated in the heart of the town’s Kelpie Trail, includes a visitor information centre, meeting spaces, amenities and an interpretative display showcasing the history of the Kelpie working dog.
Mayor Cr Anita Rank said the story of Casterton and its rich cultural heritage will now be showcased for generations to come thanks to the highly successful Kelpie branding efforts of the local community.
“Casterton’s identity as the birthplace of the Kelpie is iconic and this purpose built centre will draw visitors from right across the world to share in this fascinating history, opening the door to a new visitor economy in the town,” she said.
“It is only fitting that we officially open this building on the weekend that we celebrate all things Kelpie at the Australian Kelpie Muster, allowing event goers to visit this centre over the June long weekend and learn more about the working dog story.”
The annual Australian Kelpie Muster will also feature various novelty events, a street parade and the stockman’s challenge on Saturday. On Sunday the Australian Premier Working Dog Auction will be held after the demonstration of 61 working dogs at the town’s Island Park oval.
Casterton Kelpie Association president and Glenelg Shire councillor Karen Stephens anticipated record visitation to this year’s muster due to its growing media profile.
“We were fortunate enough to have Channel 10’s popular current affairs program The Project produce a segment last year on the origins of the Kelpie and our annual Australian Kelpie Muster festivities,” she said.
“The segment was aired to homes across Australia and went viral on social media, reaching more than 220,000 views, demonstrating just how strong the appetite is for our working dog story.
“In light of this national media success, I suspect we will welcome even more Kelpie enthusiasts to our region across the June long weekend to join in the celebrations of canine cleverness.”
The official opening of the Australian Kelpie Centre will take place from 9am on Saturday June 9 outside the building’s entrance at 139 Henty Street, Casterton.
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