Restoration project preserves Penola heritage

The historic Bond Store in Penola has been restored to its former glory and was officially opened last week.

The Penola branch of the National Trust received donations from the Wattle Range Council and the Penola branch of Bendigo Bank, which allowed them to renovate the heritage-listed building, constructed in 1850.

Building tenants Coonawarra Vignerons entered into a three-year lease agreement with the National Trust of South Australia in 2021 to store their member wines in the facility.

National Trust Penola branch president Pete Balnaves said it took some time and effort to make the project happen but without the continued support of the Wattle Range Council and staff it would not have been possible.

“History plays an important part in the fabric and the township of Penola, Penola’s one of the oldest towns in the South East and boasts a rich culture and heritage,” Mr Balnaves said.

“A sincere thank you to the Wattle Range Council for the support of this community project.

“We’re also lucky enough to have the Penola and District Bendigo Bank, the community investment grant scheme that we were able to apply for funds for successfully and invested those funds back into these buildings.

“We have achieved our aims as custodians of this historic building, the bond store now has a new purpose.”

Wattle Range Mayor Des Noll and Community Bank Penola and District Branch Manager Tara Batt cut the ribbon to officially open the building.

“It’s a fantastic space, it’s a community involvement, the connection of the community with the National Trust and different agencies that have supported it,” Mayor Noll said.

“The Wattle Range Council, the Bendigo Bank, a big contributor in this community, and that’s what builds communities, it’s what connects communities together is that local community support.

“We have Heidi (Guyett) and Ockert (Le Roux) who are committed to this project as well and they have done a fabulous job.”

Coonawarra Vignerons executive officer Ockert Le Roux said the Bond Store project was just over a year in the making and he was happy to see it all come together.

“It was a lovely day to have an opening,” Mr Le Roux said.

“To preserve these old gems and bring them back to life and give them purpose, and particularly this one is returned to its original purpose of 140 years ago.

“It’s so lovely to have our member wines stored in there.”

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