Maitland and District Historical Society has launched a plan of action to shame the council into buying the former Mercury building at 258 High Street.
In a bold move, the society has written to Maitland City Council and each councillor to pressure them to purchase the vacant building and open it as a museum.
The historical society’s members voted unanimously to push ahead with the idea, which would see the disused building take on a new purpose.
“The former Mercury building would form part of the municipal and historical precinct that Maitland City Council plans to establish at the eastern end of High Street,” society member Bob Roberts said.
“The idea surfaced last month when I moved a motion at a society meeting. Letters were sent to council and all councillors to make sure no one could say they did not receive one or it went astray.
“It is too soon for a reply, but that was stage one of the plan.”
Mr Roberts said stage two involved gaining public support through the pages of the Mercury.
“Maitland City Council has done nothing towards the history of Maitland. The last thing council did for Maitland was in 1955 when it built a levee around the town.
“I am certain the council will say it has no money to buy the building but there are a number of government grants obtainable.”
Mr Roberts said the council needed to concern itself with more than filling potholes.
“Potholes will be there every day of the week – this building won’t be,” he said. “It is a gem and we don’t want to lose it.
“The Mercury was pumped out of there every day [from 1847] and it has religiously followed the history of this city.”
The building would be suitable for museum space and for a range of historic groups to show their displays, such as clothing and textiles, he said.
“Maitland needs a High Street museum and it’s time for council to get off its backside and buy that building,” Mr Roberts said. “The letters and public support are the start of it.
“Stage three has to remain a secret at this stage but the plan is there.
“What I can say is the historical society will keep pushing for this and we intend to shame council into action.”
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