AFTER four years as general manager of the Stockman’s Hall of Fame, Cameron Mace left Longreach around 2013 for New Guinea to work in Lae in the hotel industry.
He has now returned to Winton to take-up the role of manager of the redesigned, redeveloped and rebuilt Waltzing Matilda Centre.
After it’s devastating destruction by fire in 2015, the $23-million Waltzing Matilda Centre will again be the pride of Western Queensland. The Centre is a landmark celebrating the resilience of the local community as well as the spirit of what is our unofficial national anthem.
Residents of the town were left speechless following the fire, with so much invaluable and irreplaceable historical memorabilia that had been collected over many years lost in one savage fire.
It was a sleepless night for the town’s 900 residents, who turned-out to assist wherever possible to save the unique outback tourist attraction — the only centre in the world dedicated to a song.
What makes it more important that it is Australia’s national song.
Since it opened in 1998, more than 250,000 people had visited the centre, which combined history, high-tech innovation, education and entertainment to tell Australia’s best-known story and explore the spirit of the Australian character.
Cameron Mace said last Friday that he was very excited to take the new position, and is looking forward to making a meaningful contribution to Winton and especially the tourism industry of the west.
“Winton has the brightest of futures with tourism, the film industry, natural history, mining and rural industries all taking the own forward in huge leaps and bounds,” he says.
According to Winton Mayor, Gavin Baskett, “Cameron forms a vital cog in the future success of the operations of the Centre, and I wish him all the best as he develops a team to work with him.”
Mr Mace commenced work in late January in order to commence the processes of planning and operation associated with the future management of the Centre. He will especially be liaising with the construction company to ensure a smooth transition from building stage to the public opening, which will happen in spectacular fashion between April 19 and 22 this year.
“Winton’s Way Out West Fest is more than just a music festival,” says Mayor Gavin Baskett; “it marks the re-opening of an outback icon.”
“This event is about celebrating everything that’s great about life in the outback — from our songs and poems like Waltzing Matilda, through to our iconic Winton Races, our friendly locals and, of course, our iconic pubs.
“If you haven’t yet sat in an outback pub for a beer with a local, Winton’s Way Out West Fest is the best opportunity to tick it off your bucket list,” he said.
Way Out West Fest will also serve as the outback launch of James Blundell’s new single, ‘Way Out West’, a reworking of his 1992 hit which became the highest selling Australian country music single of the 90s, cementing him as country music royalty. The new version features James joining forces with good friends Adam Brand, Tania Kernaghan, Brewn, Bec Lavelle, Ben Ransom and Paul Costa. The song will join with the iconic Waltzing Matilda as the event showcases two of Australia’s musical treasures.
According to Winton Shire CEO, Alan Rayment, Cameron has hit the ground running and is progressing a wide range of operational aspects for the Waltzing Matilda Centre.
“What is more important is the number of positions that will be advertised in February and March,” he said.
“Cameron Mace comes to Winton offering a broad range of skills. He has held the position of general manager of the Stockman’s Hall of Fame, and has a wealth of knowledge and experience managing a facility similar to the Waltzing Matilda Centre.
“While at the Hall of Fame, he was part of a team that undertook the refit of two museum galleries and produced a new television presentation with the support of Dick Smith, a re-fit to the cinema and completion of an indigenous heritage project.
“He also has an in-depth understanding of museum management, and has worked in national museums in Australia.”
Alan Rayment added that Cameron Mace also brings with him 30-plus years of experience in hospitality and business, that includes working in some challenging and isolated environments, with positive outcomes.
Excited to be entrusted with such a meaningful contribution to Winton and its tourism industry, Cameron Mace believes the brand new Waltzing Matilda Centre will mean there will be no stopping Winton and the industries that it embraces.
Winton’s population is expected to swell seven-fold for the long-running opening event that will cater for all walks of life.
“It will be a sight to behold — and definitely not one to miss,” Mr Mace said.
He also points to the amount of artefacts and memorabilia that has already been gathered for the new Centre — whether donated or on loan — and he would be very interested in talking to anyone who has access to heritage items that would be of particular benefit in such a museum of national importance.