Feasibility Study for reuse of Former Wellington Gaol and Police Station (NSW)

The former Wellington Police Station and Gaol is owned and managed by Dubbo Regional Council. The small building is made up of six offices, several bathrooms, a roofed exercise yard and six cells. The building needs substantial conservation works to address decaying brickwork, rising damp and drainage, as well as fire and alarm detection systems and improvements to the amenities for any use to move forward. At present, there is no asset maintenance plan or associated budget to conserve and maintain the building.

Council commissioned heritage tourism consultants (SMA Tourism and Nimbus Architecture) to identify potential uses of the property, cost and evaluate them, and make a recommendation to Council. We assessed the site, consulted with stakeholders, and developed a shortlist of potential community options, tourism options and sale of the property. These options were assessed using multi-variant analysis (evaluation by weighted objective).

In an unusual situation for us, we recommended sale, in that none of the options were a strong and best use for the site, and that the ongoing costs to Council were significant, with limited resources being better invested in other cultural heritage opportunities in the region. This demonstrates our ability to ‘tell it like it is’ and provide the most objective advice.

Dubbo City Council