Postcard competition marks UNE Boilerhouse's transformation into discovery space

WINNERS: UNE deputy vice chancellor Professor Todd Walker with (back row) Lou Streeting, Adrika Bagchi, NERAM art teacher Del Bernett, Deemi-Lhama Dorji, and Ben Duarte; (front row) Charlotte Streeting and Hamish McMillan.
WINNERS: UNE deputy vice chancellor Professor Todd Walker with (back row) Lou Streeting, Adrika Bagchi, NERAM art teacher Del Bernett, Deemi-Lhama Dorji, and Ben Duarte; (front row) Charlotte Streeting and Hamish McMillan.

UNE’s Boilerhouse is soon to become a family discovery centre – but a new postcard exhibition captures its brutalist look for posterity.

UNE announced earlier this year it would turn the building, disused since 2000, into a $10 million Discovery Space, where children could learn about science in a steampunk setting.

The university invited local artists to design a postcard based on the nearly 60-year-old building, with prizes of $100 in each of six categories.

The six winners were announced at an awards night at the UNE ‘Stro on Wednesday, August 8.

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OPEN WINNER: Lou Streeting's design.

OPEN WINNER: Lou Streeting's design.

The winners are:

Charlotte Streeting and Hamish McMillan (joint winners, Kindergarten-Year 2 category),

Adrika Bagchi (winner, Year 3-6 category),

Ben Duarte (winner, Year 7-9 category),

Deemi-Lhamo Dorji (winner, Year 10-12 category),

Lou Streeting (winner, Open category),

and Nadia Waters (winner, People’s Choice).

7 - 9 WINNER: Ben Duarte's design

7 - 9 WINNER: Ben Duarte's design

UNE Discovery Program Leader Dr Kirsti Abbott said the panel of judges were very impressed with the calibre of the 46 entries across all categories.

“We have some very talented community members, and we are really pleased with the level of interest and number of entries received in the art competition,” she said.

“We are delighted with the winner choices, and hope that the community will come and visit the exhibition to see these tremendous artworks. Congratulations to all our winners!”

The entries are on display at the UNE’s Dixson Library, near the UNE Union Centre and courtyard, until October 31. The library is open Monday – Thursday 8:30am-9:00pm, Friday 8:30am-5:00pm, Saturday and Sunday 1:00pm-5:00pm. Some extended opening hours will apply during the exhibition.

See inside the Boilerhouse

The coal-powered reticulated hot-water system was opened in 1961, and expanded in 1971, but closed in 2000.

It fell into disrepair, and spent much of the last two decades looking like a relic from a 1970s Doctor Who or James Bond movie: a derelict industrial powerhouse, a home to rats and spiders, the floor covered in grime and water.