This Saturday eight years ago, a suspicious fire destroyed the historical Diggers Rest Hotel leaving a smouldering emptiness for the township of Diggers Rest.
Although the community remains divided on the future of the hotel, it has become a centre piece for urban exploration. Like a scene from a horror movie, the video by Colin Ewington takes a look beyond its burnt exterior to reveal the internal destruction of that October night in 2008.
Given the length of time that has lapsed since the fire, any existing use right has expired, and under the current zoning of the land, the use of the land for a hotel is prohibited. However, the presence of a Heritage Overlay control on the site would allow Council to consider an application for a rebuild of a Hotel, bistro and bottle shop.
The Heritage Overlay control in the Melton Planning Scheme identifies the site as one where prohibited uses may be permitted (subject to a permit) and provided that any rebuild will not adversely affect the significance of the heritage place and the benefits obtained from the use of the land for a hotel can be applied towards the conservation of the heritage place.
If the feedback is anything to go by, then it seems that everyone enjoyed the 2016 Diggers Rest Primary School annual trivia event held last night.
It was fantastic to see more staff and teachers participating this year.
Hats off to Maree Welshe and her team for an exceptional effort in bringing it all together. In conjunction with rounds of questions and answers, the event was host to a live auction, a coin toss and paper plane throwing contest, as well as a silent auction, raffle draw and a logo identification game.
Although the night is about raising funds for the Primary School, last night the event paid tribute to Michael Cherriman and his wife for their past support with this event. Sadly, Michael passed away in February this year and his absence was felt.
This month marks the 8th anniversary of the fire which destroyed the historical Diggers Rest Hotel.
Since the 2008 fire, the hotel has remained in ruins and despite the desperate community outcry, very little has been done to rehabilitate the site.
In the lead up to the Melton City Council election, some Watts Ward candidates have pledged to tackle the long running issue head on.
This is welcome news for the township of Diggers Rest which is currently experiencing exceptional growth.
The former hotel, now in ruins is situated at the entry of the township and is considered an eyesore by many locals and off putting for prospective home buyers looking to call Diggers Rest their home.
Whilst the community remains divided over the future of the site, the idea that some candidates are prepared to prioritise the hotel as part of their election platform, brings a level of optimism back into the community.